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Star completes comeback, spoils NLEX’s twice-to-beat bid



Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Star completes comeback, spoils NLEX's twice-to-beat bid Basketball News PBA  Yeng Guiao Star Hotshots PJ Simon PBA Season 42 Paul Lee NLEX Road Warriors Mark Barroca Larry Fonacier Kristofer Acox Chito Victolero Alex Mallari Aldrech Ramos Aaron Fuller 2017 PBA Governors Cup

The Star Hotshots overcame a slow first half to complete a come-from-behind finish and throw the NLEX Road Warriors’ playoff incentive aspirations in tatters, 101-93, Sunday night at a packed SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Star improves their card to 7-4, and their victory helped sister team Barangay Ginebra clinch a twice-to-beat edge. For now, the Hotshots are at number four, and it may changed depending on the San Miguel-Meralco match result.

Meanwhile, the Road Warriors have kissed goodbye to their twice-to-beat advantage hopes and have dropped to the fifth spot. And similar to Star’s case, their position depends on the second game’s result.

“Ang kailangan lang namin gawin is to win,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero. “Maganda yung execution namin sa second half, naka-adjust kami. Now we just need to wait, kung anong place namin, sinong kalaban namin.”

Five Hotshots scored in double figures, with Peter June Simon leading the pack with 16 points on eight attempts. Paul Lee supplied 15 markers, while Kristofer Acox finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds with two steals.

Once down by as many as 15 in the first half, the Hotshots rallied strong come the final canto. A 7-2 spurt capped by Justin Melton’s corner triple lifted them to their first-ever double-digit lead, 91-81, with 4:28 remaining.

The team in gold then sustained the advantage all the way. Marc Pingris’ hook shot gave Star its’ biggest lead of the game at 14 points, 101-87, with just 1:01 left to play, enough to send the Road Warriors down and out.

Aldrech Ramos and Mark Barroca produced 14 and 13 markers for Star, respectively.

Import Aaron Fuller led the Road Warriors with 16 points and 17 rebounds. Alex Mallari made 13 points on top of six rebounds and four assists, while Larry Fonacier added 12 markers spiked by two three-pointers.

The Scores:

Star 101 – Simon 16, Lee 15, Acox 14, Ramos 14, Barroca 13, Dela Rosa 8, Melton 6, Pingris 6, Sangalang 4, Jalalon 3, Brondial 2, Reavis 0.

NLEX 93 – Fuller 16, Mallari 13, Fonacier 12, Alas 9, Al-Hussaini 9, Quinahan 9, Lastimosa 8, Taulava 5, Tiongson 5, J. Villanueva 3, Soyud 3, Baguio 1, Rios 0.

Quarterscores: 17-25, 36-44, 72-69, 101-93.