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Star opens conference on high note; Blackwater’s injury woes continue


Behind a throwback outing from PJ Simon, the Star Hotshots opened its Governors’ Cup campaign in dominant fashion, taking a 103-86 win over the Blackwater Elite, Sunday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Besides the loss however, Blackwater’s injury woes continued as import Trevis Simpson left the game early in the final quarter due to an apparent left ankle injury.

With 11:46 left in the game and Star holding a 75-68 lead, the 6-foot-4 American tried to drive from the top of the key but suddenly stopped, after hurting his left knee. The 25-year old did not return to the game, finishing with 24 points on 8-for-17 shooting and eight rebounds.

“Malaking tulong sa amin yan. Yung import nila kept on attacking the basket pero nakatulong sa amin yung breaks nung na-injure siya,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero as Blackwater was already without Art dela Cruz (ruptured hamstring) and Mac Belo (national team duties).

Star then went on a surge with Simpson out. Simon scored eight straight points to spark a 17-2 rally that turned a seven-point lead into a 99-79 lead with 3:30 left. The Hotshots would lead by as much as 21 points, 101-80, after a Mark Barroca bucket with 2:30 remaining.

“We just tried to limit to under 90 points, yun ang goal namin at na-achieve naman namin,” the first-year Star mentor furthered. “We tighthened our defense in the second half. Good thing na pag maganda depensa namin, maganda rin nangyayari sa opensa namin.”

Simon led five Hotshots in double-figures with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting off the bench.

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“Every time naman yan si PJ, maasahan naman namin yan lagi. Nag-step up siya especially nung naghahabol yung Blackwater,” Victolero remarked about Star’s longtime veteran.

Cinmeon Bowers added 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and a block.

“Okay naman yung laro ng import namin. Siguro nag-aadjust lang siya sa system namin. Happy ako sa nilaro ni CB pero kailangan lang niya masanay sa physicality ng laro,” added Victolero.

Allein Maliksi and Ian Sangalang finished with 15 and 14 points respectively.

JP Erram continued his strong start to the conference with 11 points, 15 rebounds, and seven blocks while Mike Digregorio scored 11 markers as well.

Star will next face the skidding Alaska aAces on Friday, July 28 at 7:00pm. Blackwater, on the other hand, will welcome the San Miguel Beermen to the conference on Saturday, July 29 at 3:00pm. Both games will be played at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Scores:

Star 103 – Simon 20, Maliksi 15, Bowers 15, Sangalang 14, Reavis 11, Lee 7, Ramos 7, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Mendoza 2, Melton 0, Javier 0, Brondial 0, Abundo 0.

Blackwater 86 – Simpson 24, Erram 11, Digregorio 11, Cruz 10, Banal 8, Cervantes 5, Sumang 4, Buenafe 3, Sena 2, Canaleta 2, Pinto 2, Gamalinda 2, Aguilar 2, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 28-22, 49-40, 75-68, 103-86

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