The Star Hotshots opened the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with an uninspiring 0-3 record, and when a team crashes down like that, especially after a disappointing Philippine Cup showing as well, speculation and skepticism begin to surface.
But what better way to silence critics and negativity than by scoring an 122-103 obliteration of the Blackwater Elite, Wednesday, to get into the win column and jump start what could be an uprising for the squad — which is exactly what the Star Hotshots did.
“Everything was clicking today. Local support, then Denzel (Bowles) at the right time. Everything was very timely today,” head coach Jason Webb said, adding he had no doubt in the potential of his team’s offense despite the scoring droughts in the previous games. “We were due to make (our) shots.”
Star entered the game having averaged only 90.3 points a game in their three losses and shooting 26.1 percent from three-point area. But by the end of the third quarter against the Elite, the Hotshots were already in command, 92-75.
The Hotshots scored 30 more in the fourth for a commanding win, which saw the team shoot 56 percent overall and 60 percent from three-point land, and dish out 30 assists.
Five players scored in double-digits for Star, led by Denzel Bowles’ 28 points that included 16 in the third quarter. The team played more inspired and showed better cohesion on the floor, enjoying the win like they were re-igniting a spark that’s long lost.
Webb sounded off on critics as well, saying that what others say about their team will not matter at the end of the day, because it’s about what the team does from the inside.
“You can be a critic all you want. But at the end of the day, it’s about us. My coaching staff, team, management, we are the ones who have to perform. We don’t care how much load you have on your phone or how much load you have. It doesn’t matter. The critics are not going to be playing. It’s our guys. And the coaches are going to have to make the decision. So, we don’t have a choice,” Webb shared.
“Ganun naman talaga, kapag panalo ka, magaling ka, kapag talo ka, you know, you’re going to be ostracized. You have to live with it. Mabuti na yung team na mataas ang expectations kaysa wala. At least you have something to strive for.”
It was an excellent way to pick up their first win, and also draw much-needed momentum ahead of a Manila Clasico clash against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
Star showed that in spite of losing three games in a row, the vital togetherness is still there. The Hotshots still have a bag full of tricks with them, and the 19-point win was proof they’re just getting started in the Webb era.
Photo courtesy of PBA Images