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Star sends NLEX’s semis dreams crashing, advances to next round

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Star sends NLEX's semis dreams crashing, advances to next round Basketball News PBA  Yeng Guiao Star Hotshots PBA Season 42 Paul Lee NLEX Road Warriors Kristofer Acox Kevin Alas Ian Sangalang Chito Victolero Alex Mallari Aaron Fuller 2017 PBA Governors Cup

The Star Hotshots did not waste their win-once playoff incentive, as their fourth quarter rally was enough to eliminate the NLEX Road Warriors, 89-77, in the 2017 Governor’s Cup Quarterfinals, Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“It’s all about our perseverance, our desire, and our chemistry in defense,” said coach Chito Victolero. “It’s very hard for us because it’s our third game in five days. But because of our willingmess to go deep into the playoffs, we made it.”

With the win, the Hotshots are now bound for the semifinals, and will await the winner of the Meralco Bolts-Blackwater Elite series. The losing Road Warriors, meanwhile, produced their lowest output this conference.

Import Kristofer Acox powered Star with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Paul Lee supplied 18 markers on 50 percent shooting, while Ian Sangalang contributed 14 points.

Star entered the final frame trailing by a field goal, 61-63, but they stepped on the gas through an overwhelming 20-8 surge punctuated by Lee’s fadeaway jumper, en route to a comfortable 81-71 lead with 4:03 remaining.

The Hotshots then cruised the rest of the way. Their cushion ballooned to as high as 14 points, 89-75, after another perimeter jumper by Lee with 55 seconds left to play.

The exiting Road Warriors were led by Aaron Fuller with a near double-double of 16 points and nine rebounds. Kevin Alas produced 15 points, while Alex Mallari provided the spark off the bench with 15 points but had six turnovers.

Star shot an excellent 52 percent from the floor, and they also reigned supreme in the rebounding department, 46-34. Their defense forced NLEX to 15 errors, which they converted to 23 points.

Star’s semis clash with either Meralco or Blackwater will start on Sunday, October 1, at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.

The Scores:

Star 89 – Acox 21, Lee 18, Sangalang 14, Pingris 8, Jalalon 7, Simon 7, Brondial 5, Ramos 3, Reavis 2, Barroca 2, Dela Rosa 2, Melton 0.

NLEX 77 – Fuller 16, Mallari 15, Alas 14, Fonacier 9, Quinahan 6, Tiongson 5, Baguio 5, Rios 4, Al-Hussaini 3, Taulava 0, Soyud 0.

Quarterscores: 23-22, 45-45, 61-63, 89-77.

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