The super performance of the Star Hotshots continues in the PBA Philippines Cup 2017 as they routed the Phoenix Fuel Masters 91-71 in their best-of-three quarterfinals to cement a place in semifinals conference on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Star with this win are returning for semifinals for the first time since 2015 PBA Governors Cup. On Saturday in the series opening the Star outlasted Fuel Masters at a comfortable win with 114-83 score. Now the final four the Hotshots will face either Alaska Aces or Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings.
There was yet another loaded performance by Paul Lee, who was traded from Rain or Shine for former James Yap (Hotshot star) during offseason, led the Star with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 9 assists.
The new coach, Chito Victolero, who is heading for the semis trip for the first time with Star said –
Again our defense stepped up in this game,”
“I told them it’s about our defense versus their offense.”
Apart from stealing a semifinal berth in PBA, Star also stretched their current winning streak to 5 and is now is notching much momentum heading towards the Semis. Through their last 3 matchup, they had an average margin win of 38.3 points.
Along with Paul Lee, there were other 3 master players that delivered double-digit outputs for Star. The 35-year-old forward Marc Pingris added 16 on a 6-of-7 clip to go along with 9 rebound. While, Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang grabbed 11 points and 6 rebounds anew, with a combined shooting of 7-of-12 from the floor.
“This team is new, we are new so there’s a new system and I expect it to take time. It’s a process. But now, we’re already building chemistry,” Victolero said in Filipino. “But we can’t stop. I told them we need to be aggressive, we need to have that desire.”
Matthew Wright was the top man for Phoenix leading the team with 24 markers.
Star (91): Lee 17, Pingris 16, Jalalon 11, Sangalang 11, Maliksi 8, Barroca 7, Abundo 6, Ramos 6, Melton 5, Brondial 4, Reavis 0, Javier 0, Dela Rosa 0.
Phoenix (71): Wright 24, Enciso 12, Intal 10, W. Wilson 6, Borboran 5, Baguio 4, J. Wilson 3, Torres 3, Kramer 2, Alolino 2, Dehesa 0, Miranda 0.
Quarter scores: 22-18, 42-35, 65-49, 91-71.