Star reveals Lee-thal weapon in Manila Clasico semis opener

Paul Lintag on Feb 09, 2017 09:30 PM
Star reveals Lee-thal weapon in Manila Clasico semis opener
Playing only in his second Manila Clasico, Paul Lee delivered the goods for Star, taking over in the clutch for the Hotshots.

It wasn't a blowout but you just know the Hotshots enjoyed this latest victory of theirs in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.

Locked in an offensive struggle, Star just had enough in the end game to take Game 1 of the Manila Clasico semfinals against Brgy. Ginebra, 78-74, Thursday at the Big Dome.

A far cry from their previous six games when they beat opponents by an average of 27 points, the no. 3 Hotshots had to grind it out to beat the no. 7 Gin Kings in the series opener, taking an early lead in the best-of-7 affair.

Playing only in his second Manila Clasico, Paul Lee delivered the goods for Star, taking over in the clutch for the Hotshots.

Holding on to a 76-74 lead in the final minute, Lee used a pretty spin move to evade two Ginebra players before burying a tough, shotclock-beating floater over the defense of Kevin Ferrer with 25.5 seconds remaining.

That proved to be the game's final basket as the Gin Kings failed to convert on their following offensive possessions, handing the victory to Star.

"I told them it's very close in the end and we need that mental toughness in order for us to win this game. Yun talaga yung aming pinaghahandaan. Our emotion, our composure, kailangan talaga we need to play [48] minutes with a proper mindset," head coach Chito Victolero said.

Lee scored a game-high 18 points for the Hotshots, including nine in the fourth quarter alone while Mark Barroca came through for 17.

Marc Pingris meanwhile scored 9 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out five assists, and recorded three steals for an all-around effort.

Star has now won seven straight games in the All-Filipino, the win also allowed the Hotshots to snap a four-game Manila Clasico losing skid dating back to last season.

For the Gin Kings, four players scored in double figures led by Chris Ellis' 12 points. Japeth Aguilar added 11, he was the only starter to break the 10-point barrier.

Game 2 of this series is set for Saturday at the MOA Arena.

 

 


The scores:

STAR 78 - Lee 18, Barroca 17, Pingris 9, Sangalang 8, Maliksi 7, Jalalon 6, Reavis 5, Melton 5, Dela Rosa 2, Ramos 1, Brondial 0.

GINEBRA 74 - Aguilar 11, Ellis 12, Cruz 10, Mercado 10, Tenorio 8, Thompson 7, Ferrer 7, MArcelo 5, Mariano 4.

Quarterscores: 14-19, 37-38, 60-58, 78-74.


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