Finally back to reigning champion form after a slow start earlier in the conference, the Purefoods Star
Hotshots cruised to their third victory in the Philippine Cup after outlasting a plucky but still winless
Blackwater Elite, 90-82, Tuesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Blackwater led early in the quarter, 7-4. Powered by eight points from guard PJ Simon, Purefoods
wrested control of the ballgame, overtaking the Elite and pacing the remainder of the quarter. Following a
trade of baskets late in the quarter, the Hotshots closed out the period with a 26-21 edge.
Purefoods opened the second quarter going all out defensively, forcing Blackwater to go scoreless in the
first three minutes. The Hotshots led by as many as fifteen points in the quarter, building a 44-
29 cushion with three minutes left on the clock. But an undaunted Alex Nuyles rose to the occasion,
leading a late Blackwater 10-2 rally with six points to trim the lead to a manageable 39-46 just before
Still fired up from the previous quarters’ last minute rally, Blackwater managed to trim the margin
to a mere point, 52-53, with five minutes left on the quarter. Before the Elite could to steal the lead from
Purefoods, PJ Simon would once again come to life, scoring six points, all from fastbreak drivers, in an 8-
0 rally that saw Purefoods pull away once more. Back in the driver’s seat of the remainder of the
quarter, Purefoods paced the game once more, eventually closing out the quarter with a 67-58
Following a flurry of baskets from bigmen Marc Pingris and Joe Devance and guard Allein Maliksi and
Purefoods remained comfortably in the lead for most of the quarter. Brian Faundo and Brian
Heruela tried to kick the Elite back to life, but Purefoods answered back on the other end to
extend the lead anew. Entering the final two minutes, the Hotshots still led by double digits, 86-74. A
few more baskets from the Elite would trim the lead, but the league newcomers could mount no serious
PJ Simon led Purefoods in scoring with 18 points. Joe Devance had 16, while Allein Maliksi had 11. Brian
Faundo and Sunday Salvacion both had 14 points to lead Blackwater. Purefoods are at .500 once more,
improving to 3-3, while Blackwater, who have to taste victory since joining the PBA at the start of the
season, fall deeper into the pit at 0-6.