As the elimination phase reaches its final week and seedings yet to be determined, the Star Hotshots clinched an important 105-93 win over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters to improve their standings at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Good ball movement for both teams propelled them to showcase an offensive exchange early in the match. With over five minutes passing by, the score was deadlocked at nine apiece before the Tropang Texters built a 12-0 run in three minutes to put distance against Star. Afterwards, Blakely scored four straight points while Joe Devance came off the bench to instantly provide a jumper to aid their team in slicing the lead. The late run by Star in the first chopped the lead down to five at the end of 12 minutes.
The Hotshots opened up the second quarter on a 7-2 spurt to once again tie things up at 27. The bench players also made noise as they crashed the boards while defending core scorers by TNT. A triple by Larry Fonacier to give TNT a momentary lead was answered by an 11-4 response capped by an Alex Mallari jump shot. However, Talk ‘N Text had the last hurrah in the first half game or runs as they outscored Star 8-2 in the last two minutes to just trail by a solitary point heading into the half.
The scoring barrage continued on for both teams in the second half as the Star Hotshots kept on feeding their big men in the paint. On the other hand, Fonacier and De Ocampo were still shooting hot from the perimeter. Two straight stops by Star led to fastbreak buckets on their end to stop the offensive exchange and give them a 57-53 edge. The run further intensified for the Hotshots as Pettigrew was called for his fourth personal foul while Star kept their running game going.
Despite their import nursing foul issues, TNT built a 10-4 run from their locals capped by a triple by De Ocampo and Sam Daghles to make it a 65-63 game. In the last three minutes of the third, the game got chippy with extracurriculars for both teams that made it an intensely-contested match. A wide open Joe Devance triple came up huge late as it ignited a mini-surge for Star to give them an eight-point lead after 36 minutes.
A couple of stops led to two right corner jumpers by Justin Melton including a triple to open things up in the fourth and give his squad a double-digit edge. This jumpstarted another run for Star as bench players started to play well both offensively and defensively. PJ Simon knocked down a mid range jumper to give them a 93-75 halfway in the fourth against the seemingly stunned Texters squad.
TNT had chances to trim the lead but could not get successive baskets going as turnovers started to haunt them. Meanwhile, Star Hotshots started to milk the clock on their next possessions while they scored five more points to make it a 102-83 game with 2:18 left. The necessary stretch was enough to put the nail in the coffin, more importantly grab their fourth win of the conference.
Star had more free throws 20-of-22 and is plus 11 from that category. They also had more assists 21-15 and less turnovers, 10-14. Blakely had 26 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists. Devance added 19 with four triples.
Star improved to a 4-5 record while TNT dropped to 4-6 in a tightly-fought Governor’s Cup team standings.
Talk ‘N Text will next face Kia on Friday, 4:15pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Star’s next assignment will be up against Barako Bull on Sunday, 3pm also at Araneta.
Star Hotshots(105) – Blakely 26, Devance 19, Melton 16, Simon 15, Mallari 11, Pingris 8, Barroca 5, Yap 5, Reavis 0
Talk ‘N Text(93) – De Ocampo 21, Fonacier 20, Pettigrew 18, Castro 17, Daghles 7, Williams 4, Washington 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2, Seigle 2, Reyes 0, Carey 0
Quarters: 20-25, 45-44, 73-65, 105-93