After watching their huge first half lead dwindle away, the Star Hotshots regained their veteran composure and buried the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the final period of Star’s 101-94 triumph at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Forcing GlobalPort to a multitude of contested outside jumpers, Star easily built an early 21-point lead, 39-18, midway through the second period. In the same quarter, Star veteran guard, PJ Simon hopped off the bench and delivered 12 points which sparked Star’s furious rally. However, GlobalPort kept themselves alive through the gargantuan effort of their import, Jarrid Famous, whose 20 first half points buoyed GlobalPort. Terrence Romeo also found his range momentarily as time wound down in the first half, drilling a three off a beatiful crossover that cut Star’s lead to nine, 49-40.
Stanley Pringle caught fire in the following period, attacking the paint after a first half of mostly settling for jumpshots. After James Yap scored off a turnover, Pringle notched six straight points for GlobalPort, narrowing the gap, 51-46. Star struggled to score throughout the period as GlobalPort snuffed out their plays. Batang Pier eventually forced a tie, 56-56, with Ronjay Buenafe converting his first three of the match after multiple attempts. The Hotshots then leaned on their frontcourt to keep them ahead with Joe Devance, Marquis Blakely, Yusef Taha conspiring for buckets and keeping their team ahead, 64-61. Famous and Pringle scored on back-to-back possesions, giving GlobalPort their first lead, 65-64. But Star recaptured the advantage as consecutive Devance buckets preceeded a Justin Melton jumper which kept Batang Pier at bay, 70-65.
The Batang Pier made their last push at the start of the final period, rattling off six straight points, holding the lead for the last time at 71-70. From there, Star dominated through the tremendous playmaking of their veterans, most notably Blakely who assisted on most Star’s shots in the fourth quarter. Star blew by the Batang Pier with a 11-3 run capped with Blakely finding a wide open Marc Pingris on the baseline for floater, 74-82. James Yap then delivered the final back-breaking blows, draining a three that put Star ahead, 89-77 then converting off a backdoor play, propelling the Hotshot lead to 94-83 with 1:10 to go.
Marquis Blakely dazzled with a triple-double; going for 15 points, 16 boards, and 11 assists. James Yap and Alaine Maliksi both pitched in 16 points while PJ Simon and Joe Devance led Star’s bench brogade with 14 and 13 points respectively.
Jarryd Famous finsihed his season with a scintillating 38 points and 21 rebound performance. Stanley Pringle managed 16 markers while Terrence Romeo followed with 15 points but the Former FEU Tamaraw was paltry from the field, going five for 21.
Winning their first series on the wrong end of a twice-to-beat advantage, Star will now face the Alaska Aces in a best-of-five series.
Star (104) – Mallari 17, Yap 17, Blakely 15, Simon 14, Devance 13, Taha 8, Barroca 6, Pingris 6, Melton 5, Pennisi 0
GlobalPort (94) – Famous 38, Pringle 16, Romeo 15, Krayem 9, Jensen 7, Buenafe 6, Kramer 3, Semerad 0, Miranda 0
Quarterscores: 21-16, 49-40, 70-65, 101-94