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Fourth quarter outburst boosts Barako over Star



As the log jam in the team standings continues going into the tail-end of eliminations, the Barako Bull Energy Cola used a 34-point fourth quarter surge to propel them to a 101-83 victory over the Star Hotshots, and keep their quarterfinal, twice-to-beat hopes alive on Sunday, at the Big Dome.

A closely-fought first quarter featured five deadlocks for the two teams, with no squad able to hold any sort of momentum for the first 12 minutes. Barako Bull tweaked their usual starting five by fielding Josh Urbiztondo and Emman Monfort. The two guards made jumpers that made it a 22-18 affair with 2:25 left. However, Star’s second unit built a 10-3 spurt to end the quarter including baskets from Mark Cruz and Justin Melton.

Star increased their lead in the first seven minutes of the next quarter to eight as Barako struggled with their miscues. However, as Star did in the first, Barako’s ended the frame strongly, as Urbiztondo made two big threes before the half expired. By the break, the score was knotted once again at 45.

A quick 7-0 run for Star to open the third quarter dictated the pace in favor of the Hotshots. They once again pulled away, increasing the lead to 11, halfway through the 3rd canto. Unfortunately for the Hotshots, the game turned out to be all-Barako from that point on as the Energy Cola successfully sliced seven points off the lead just before the final period of play.

Barako’s defense held Star to zero production offensively until the 6:50 mark of the final quarter. By that time, Barako had piled up the points and were able to turn the match around to build their own double-digit gap at 84-73. Star missed all of their six attempts from the three-point area, while the lead kept growing for Energy en route to the win.

Urbiztondo led all scorers with 24 points – including 5/10 shooting from downtown – three assists, and three boards. He started for first time and instantly paid dividends for Barako. “It’s really important to come out with a sense of urgency. (Coach said) be the initiator on physicality and everything. It’s huge especially entering the playoffs. It’s a confidence builder and showed a lot of our team’s character in bouncing back from the tough loss against Blackwater” he said.

Intal and Wilson combined for 36 points and 16 boards to aid their guard. For Star, Barroca paced the team with 17 points, seven assists, and a block. Yap chipped in 12, but needed 17 shots for it.

Barako Bull improve to a .500 record and now hold a 5-5 slate. They wrap up their elimination round on December 19, Saturday against the Alaska Aces. On the other hand, Star drop to a 3-7 record. The Hotshots’ last game will be up against the Blackwater Elites on Friday, December 18.

The Scores:
Barako Bull (101) – Urbiztondo 24, Intal 18, Wilson 18, Pennisi 14, Fortuna 14, Brondial 6, Monfort 5, Lanete 2, Miranda 0, Sorongon 0.
Star (83) – Barroca 17, Yap 12, Sangalang 11, Pingris 10, Mallari 9, Taha 7, Melton 5, Cruz 5, Pascual 4, Torres 3, Simon 0.
Quarterscores: 25-28, 45-45, 67-71, 101-83.