STAR clicked on both ends this time as it frustrated TNT KaTropa, 88-77, to get back on the winning track in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Already proving they are a potent offensive team, the Hotshots delivered on defense this time as they held the Texters to their lowest output this conference to snap a two-game losing streak.
Ian Sangalang registered 14 points and six boards to spearhead a balanced effort that saw six players who scored at least eight points each for the Hotshots, who tied the Texters with a 4-4 win-loss record, creating a logjam with three other teams.
“The mindset was our defense versus their offense,” Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said. “And I’m proud of my guards, kasi they stepped up on defense especially on (Jayson) Castro.”
Castro was limited to just 16 points after missing 11 of his 15 shots in 37 minutes for the Texters, who have yet to win in two games this New Year.
The Hotshots zoomed to an early lead that it never relinquished, extending it to as many as 19 points, 59-40, early in the third quarter, enough cushion to keep the Texters at bay in the payoff period.
Sangalang and Mark Barroca sparked the rout, before Allein Maliksi, Aldrech Ramos, Paul Lee, and Jio Jalalon took over the in the middle quarters as the Hotshots broke away.
Rafi Reavis chipped in five points, including the last two on a putback off a missed triple by Lee that sealed the deal for the Hotshots, giving them an 86-77 lead late in the game.
Ranidel de Ocampo registered 21 points and three boards in a losing effort for the Texters.
STAR 88 – Sangalang 14, Maliksi 13, Ramos 13, Lee 10, Jalalon 9, Barroca 8, Pingris 7, Reavis 5, Dela Rosa 4, Melton 3, Simon 2, Brondial 0
TNT 77 – De Ocampo 21, Castro 16, Pogoy 7, Rosario 7, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, Tautuaa 6, Williams 4, Rosales 4, Fonacier 3, Reyes 3, Carey 0, Golla 0
Quarterscores: 20-12, 56-39, 73-62, 88-77