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Big lineup aids Star in win over Ginebra



The Star Hotshots normally start the game using a huge lineup consisting of three forwards and two wing guys, with Joe Devance usually bringing down the leather to facilitate.

Against Barangay Ginebra, who they defeated 89-82 Sunday, the big unit on the floor provided ample help defensively. Alex Mallari, James Yap, Marqus Blakely, Joe Devance, and Mick Pennisi started the game with Marc Pingris replacing Pennisi a few minutes into the opening quarter.

Mallari defended the ball-handlers and prevented them from doing straight-line drives, and with athletic forwards, switching became easier on ball screens or off-ball screens.

We’ve been doing better in practice and it really showed in the game especially defensively. We were much more active and created our offense from our defense. That has been our way,” head coach Tim Cone said.

“The teeth of the big line up is the defense. With Mark (Pingris) and Marqus (Blakely)’s versatility we can do a lot of switching.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Big lineup aids Star in win over Ginebra    Star zoomed to a commanding 40-21 lead in the second quarter, and the unit composed of three forwards/bigs with Mallari as one of the backcourt players was a plus-15 during that stretch.

Overall, that unit was a plus-7 compared to a plus-2 with other combinations on the floor.

“We were able to switch because we were a bit agile. When we switch on good guards, we have to be definite. We have a five-man defense, and that is what we really work on,” shared Devance, who finished with 26 points on 9-for-15 field goals.

“This whole week we just took it back to what we usually do and that is defense. I care less about my offense, but I am just proud on how we played defense.”

Ginebra shot 40 percent from the field, and only 28 percent from three-point area. The effective field goal percentage (eFG%) dipped to 40 percent, which was below the 44 percent average; the team’s offensive rating was only 97, which is a shade below their 98.3 ORTG average.

Cone lauded the effort from the Hotshots, which improved to 3-4 in the conference in which they are defending the crown.

“We get discouraged when bad things happen but we bounced back from tough things. Tonight we did. We hung tough and got ourselves in the lead. We showed good character tonight and I hope it carries forward,” Cone added, hoping the commitment carries over during their next matches against Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text.

“Those two teams are also playing for their lives and tonight was a playoff level game. Hopefully we can get ourselves back into the race.”

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