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Maliksi, Star Hotshots drub Phoenix by 44 points


The Star Hotshots are finally finding their stride after losing their first two games of the season, as they notched a lopsided, 123-79 victory against the hapless Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters in the lone PBA Saturday game at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Everything went the way of the Hotshots in a game-long superb performance on both ends of the floor, as they shot an excellent 61 percent from the floor. They also limited the Fuel Masters to only 79 points, which was far worse than their 98-point average in the past three games.

“Nag-commit yung mga players plus ang ganda ng chemistry namin sa offense,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero after leading his team to its first win streak of the season. He added that the next games will be the real test of the squad, and that he hopes that this wire-to-wire win will give his squad a much-needed boost.

“Our real test will be the next two games against Rain or Shine and Ginebra. Sana yung momentum dito ay makatulong pag nakalaban na namin yung dalawa.”

PJ Simon and Paul Lee ignited Star’s offense from the get-go, as the Hotshots established a comfortable 15-point cushion in the opening frame. From thereon, Star fired all cylinders and made the Fuel Masters bleed for points against their defense.

Star led by as much as 53 points, 119-66, in the final quarter, after Jio Jalalon scored on a three-point play with three minutes left. Jalalon gathered a good chunk of the team’s 68 bench points in the blowout.

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“Right now maganda yung tinatakbo namin as a team and nage-enjoy yung mga players. Yun naman napagusapan namin na go hard sa practice at mag-enjoy kami. Ang ganda ng takbo ng bench kaya kahit natalo kami sa first two games, we were still very positive,” said Victolero.

Star shot 13-for-26 from beyond-the-arc, seven more than Phoenix’s dismal 18 percent clip at 6-of-32. In addition, the team racked up 28 assists out of their 50 made field goals, which top-scoring man Allain Maliksi pointed out after the game.

“Maganda talaga ikot ng bola namin at distribution,” said Maliksi after scoring 18 efficient points. “Hopefully eto na yung momentum na inaantay namin.”

Simon Enciso led Phoenix in the losing defeat with 16 markers, but needed a 6-for-17 clip from the floor. Willie Wilson and JC Intal added 13 apiece.

Star (2-2) looks to make it three straight wins as they enter a collision course against a familiar face in James Yap and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (3-1) on December 18, while Phoenix (2-2) will have the TNT KaTropa (2-2) as their next assignment at December 16. Both games will still be played at the Big Dome.

The Scores:

Star (123) – Maliksi 18, Lee 18, Simon 15, Melton 11, Jalalon 11, Barroca 11, Pingris 8, Brondial 8, Ramos 7, Reavis 7, Sangalang 4, Abundo 4, Javier 1, De Leon 0.

Phoenix (79) – Enciso 16, Intal 13, W. Wilson 13, Wright 12, Caperal 8, Borboran 5, Lanete 4, Torres 4, Baguio 2, Hayes 2, Alolino 0, J. Wilson 0, Miranda 0.

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Quarterscores: 35-20, 61-38, 91-53, 123-79

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