After trailing by as many as nine points in the third quarter, the Purefoods Star Hotshots relied on a massive fourth quarter turnaround to pull away from a reinvigorated Kia Sorento, 88-77, Wednesday night at the Ynares Center.
Kia, who played with head coach and first round draft pick Manny Pacquiao on the sidelines for the first time in over a month, had a strong showing in the first half and led for most of the third, but collapsed in the pivotal final quarter.
Purefoods gunner Mark Barroca took home Player of the Game honors with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Kia opened the first quarter with a strong showing, taking a 5-0 lead and keeping the Hotshots scoreless for the first three minutes of the ballgame. Purefoods however responded in ruthless fashion, going on an 11-0 run to overtake the Sorento. Powered by eight points off the bench from Jopher Custodio, Kia managed to force a 17-all deadlock at the end of the first period. Both squads continued trading baskets in the second quarter, and at the half, both teams remained deadlocked, 34-34.
The Sorento proved to be the quicker draw in the third quarter, leading by as many as nine points late in the period, 52-43, but found the margin decimated in the next few minutes after Purefoods responded with an 8-0 rally. Reil Cervantes put an end to the run with a triple, and at the end of the third period, the lead remained with Kia, 57-51.
A 14-0 run early in the fourth quarter saw the Hotshots take back the lead, 70-63, with seven minutes left on the clock. Powered by a seven-point explosion from Alex Mallari, the Hotshots led by as many as 16 in the following minutes. The Hotshots entered the final two minutes up by double digits, 86-73, and held on to the double digit advantage until the end of the game.
Purefoods improves to 5-3, joining the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the no.3 spot in the standings. Kia meanwhile slides to 1-8.
Photo by Nuki Sabio of PBA Images