The Purefoods Star Hotshots bounced back from last Sunday’s blowout loss to rival Barangay Ginebra, trouncing the NLEX Road Warriors, 92-76, Friday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
The game opened to a virtual shootout between NLEX’s Mac Cardona and Purefoods’ PJ Simon, who scored the first seven points of their respective teams. Following a tight shootout and trade of leads in the opening minutes, the Star Hotshots embarked on a 10-2 run to place themselves in the driver’s seat. They finished the quarter with a 25-18 lead.
Purefoods would continue to pace the game heading into the second quarter, leading by double digits in the first three minutes of the period, 30-20. Following fiery performances from James Yap and Marc Pingris in the quarter, Purefood led by as many as fifteen in the final minute, eventually heading into halftime with a 50-37 lead.
Powered by eight points from 41 year-old tower of power Asi Taulava, NLEX would manage to trim the deficit to single digits, 46-53, with seven minutes left on the clock. Purefoods however responded in ruthless fashion, embarking on a 13-4 run for the remainder of the quarter to extend their lead to sixteen, 66-50, at the end of the period.
Purefoods would continue to pace the game in the fourth quarter, denying NLEX the chance to mount a major comeback despite coming within single digits once more, 69-78, with four minutes left to play. The Hotshots mounted a 8-3 run in two minutes to extend the lead, with a lay-up by Rafi Reavis entering the final minutes to cap off the run and nail the final coffin. Purefoods would spend the final two minutes padding their score.
Peter June Simon took home Player of the Game honors, after scoring 20 points and bagging 4 rebounds. Two-time MVP James Yap added 19 points. Asi Taulava led NLEX with 21 of his own.
Purefoods improve to 2-3, while NLEX slides to 2-4 in the standings.