Star a win away from semis after another blowout of Phoenix

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 04, 2017 07:58 PM
Star a win away from semis after another blowout of Phoenix
ENCORE. Star's winning margin against Phoenix through two games is now 37.5 points.

Looks like Star has got Phoenix’s number in the 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cups.

Hit with a 36-point second quarter and resoundingly responding with a 69-point second half, the Hotshots buried the Fuel Masters, 114-83, on Saturday at the MOA Arena for a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three quarterfinals series.

The 31-point rout comes two months after Star destroyed Phoenix by 44 points, 123-79.

Their winning margin was smaller this time around, but this one came in the quarterfinals, with an entry into the semifinals – which would be the storied franchise’s first in two seasons – on the line.

The Hotshots were looking good after the opening salvo, mounting a seven-point lead before the Fuel Masters countered with a scalding second quarter that took a 51-45 advantage in their favor at halftime.

Coming out of the dugout, however, Paul Lee got Star back in business by scoring nine of his 22 points in the third quarter.

Lee’s teammates only followed suit and, in all, the Hotshots poured in 37 in the third and 32 in the fourth. In all, they overwhelmed their opponents, 69-32, in that time frame.

The domination wasn’t just at the offensive end as Marc Pingris anchored a defense that only allowed 17 points in the first 18 minutes of the second half. “Nag-start talaga kami sa defense,” coach Chito Victolero said, talking about the turning point of the game.

Pingris wound up with a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double to go along with four blocks while Ian Sangalang also chipped in 17 markers.

Matthew Wright led the charge for Phoenix with 19 points, but only had four points in the last two periods.

The Fuel Masters try to stay alive and force a winner-take-all matchup on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.

BOX SCORES

STAR 114 - Lee 22, Sangalang 17, Melton 12, Maliksi 11, Pingris 10, Ramos 9, Jalalon 9, Reavis 7, Javier 4, Barroca 4, Dela Rosa 3, De Leon 2, Abundo 2, Brondial 2.

PHOENIX 83 - Wright 19, Baguio 12, Dehesa 10, Intal 9, Kramer 9, Borboran 7, Alolino 8, Caperal 3, Enciso 2, Torres 2, W. Wilson 2, Hayes 0, Lanete 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 22-15, 45-52, 82-64, 114-83

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