Semis return set for Star as Hotshots sweep Phoenix
Paul Lintag on Feb 06, 2017 06:37 PM
Paul Lee was once again brilliant for the Hotshots, leading the team with 17 points, four rebounds, and nine assists as Star swept Phoenix in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
In the end, Phoenix just couldn't do anything against Star.
In yet another masterful performance, the no. 3 Hotshots dominated the no. 6 Fuel Masters anew, taking Game 2 of their best-of-3 Philippine Cup quarterfinals series, 91-71, Monday at the Big Dome.
Star won the series handily, 2-0, to move on to the PBA semifinals for the first time since the 2015 Governors' Cup. The Hotshots now wait for the winner of the Alaska-Ginebra matchup.
This latest 20-point win actually pales in comprarison to Star's previous victories over the Fuel Masters this season.
The Hotshots took Game 1 by 31 points two days earlier, add that to their 44-point masterpiece last December 14 and Star has crushed Phoenix by a combined 95 points in three outings.
"Again our defense stepped up in this game. I told them it's about our defense vs. their offense. Credit to the players, to the whole coaching staff and, to the management who worked hard for this," head coach Chito Victolero said who has sparked Star's All-Filipino run in his very first conference with the team.
After a relatively close first half, Star clamped down on defense in the third, allowing only 14 points for Phoenix to take a 65-49 cushion into the payoff period.
The floodgates totally opened in the last 12 minutes as the Hotshots put the game, and the series, away, leading by as much as 26 points, 79-53.
Paul Lee was once again brilliant for the Hotshots, leading the team with 17 points, four rebounds, and nine assists. Marc Pingris was also productive, going for 16 markers and nine boards.
Rookie Matthew Wright scored 24 for the Fuel Masters but only shot 44 percent from the field. The rest of the team was no better as Phoeix collectively only converted 33 percent of their shot attempts.
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.
Quarterscores: 22-18, 42-35, 65-49, 91-71.
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