In the third to the last game day before the Governor’s Cup playoffs, the Star Hotshots went steamrolling in offense as they pulled off a 117-89 to embarrass the Barako Bull and improve their standings held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Father’s Day.
Star went blitzing at the start of the game, going off an 8-0 run including transition plays from Marqus Blakely. Five points off the stretch triggered an early timeout from a disappointed Barako Bull coach Koy Banal. Unfortunately for Energy, their squad had a hard time coping up with Blakely as the Star reinforcement went piercing against Barako’s defense. Nearly halfway in, Alex Mallari found a wide open Mick Pennisi for a triple that opened up the game’s first double-digit lead at 19-7.
Continuing the smoke from the perimeter, the lead swelled further as they made all of their first five triples while Energy were dazed and struggled with their turnovers. Blakely continued to score from his sweet spot as he kept on scoring in the paint and also managing to troop through the free throw line. Star ended the first quarter up by an early 14 point edge.
The second quarter’s opening basket was scored by Barako but was quickly countered within minutes by PJ Simon’s personal 7-0 run to extend it to an 18-point cushion. Scoring struggles continued for Barako as they scored only five points in six minutes while Star maintained their 50% shooting from the field for the first half. Mark Barroca also waxed hot in the period as he had eight points, including two trifectas to further fortify the lead.
A risky move by Barako failed to work, as they played Liam McMorrow in the remainder of the second half with the import nursing already three fouls and also defending the aggressive Blakely underneath. Energy went cold as they failed to capitalize on several stops while James Yap knocked down a triple to end the first to lead by 21.
The two teams exchanged baskets at the start of the second half but a three-point play by Blakely off a follow-up slam and Pennisi hitting another trey increased their lead to 72-45. Despite Nico Salva and JC Intal hitting threes to salvage up some points for Energy, Yap went berserk on the other end as he was quick to respond five more points for Star.
Quiet for majority of the game due to the clobbering defense against him, McMorrow finally started to make noise in the paint to slice the lead down to 21 with two dunks down-low. However, 50-50 balls went in favor of the Hotshots as they maintained the comfortable lead they built in the game. Energy scored their best quarter offensively, but Star was still able to outscore them heading into the last frame.
With the whole Star squad oozing with confidence, Allain Maliksi joined the three-point barrage to make it a 30-point gap, 97-67. With a little over eight minutes left in the game, McMorrow was fielded in to make a last push for Energy. However, Peter Jun Simon kept on scoring as his team passed the 100-plus point mark in about seven minutes to go and the final score just waiting to be settled.
Blakely tallied 33 points, eight boards and was 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Yap added 17 markers and seven rebounds in 21 minutes of action. McMorrow scored a quiet 23 points to pace his team. Star was plus 30 from downtown as they shot 16-of-36(44%) compared to Barako’s 6-of-15. In addition, Hotshots committed less turnovers, 17-25.
Barako ends their elimination round games with a 6-5 record and a disappointing four game losing skid. Meanwhile, this big win gives Star a 5-5 slate and will face Blackwater on their last assignment in the elims, 7pm on Tuesday at the Big Dome.
Star (117) – Blakely 33, Yap 17, Simon 15, Mallari 11, Malliksi 10, Barroca 8, Devance 6, Pennisi 6, Pingris 6, Melton 3, Taha 2, Gaco 0, Reavis 0
Barako Bull (89) – McMorrow 23, Intal 14, Salva 11, Ababou 11, Lanete 9, Hubalde 7, Pascual 4, Wilson 4, Chua 2, Garcia 2, Sorongon 2, Forrester 0, Yeo 0, Salvador 0
Quarterscores: 34-20, 58-37, 86-62, 117-89