PAUL Lee turned into a villain against his former team, before Aldrech Ramos delivered at crunch time after a poor start as Star frustrated Rain or Shine, 99-91, to sustain its momentum in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Lee knocked down a dagger triple before Ramos added two more as the Hotshots gained enough cushion to wiggle out of a tight contest on the way to their third straight win to tie the Elasto Painters on 3-2 win-loss records.
The Hotshots also gave James Yap a rude reception in his first game against his former team in a highly charged battle.
“Pinipilit ko sila na hind imaging emotional, pero hindi maiwasan. But I just told them let’s stay composed and it showed in the end,” Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said.
“It’s all credit to the players,” he added. “They did their best effort at nag-commit sila sa depensa namin,”
PJ Simon showed the way for the Hotshots with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 21 minutes, while also coming through on the end with a motivated defensive job against longtime teammate Yap.
But it was Lee and Ramos who lifted the Hotshots in the end.
Lee, who played his first five years in the league with RoS, registered half of his 14 points in the payoff period, including a catch-and-shoot three-pointer off a screen curl that gave the Hotshots a 93-88 lead.
Then Ramos, misfiring in the first three period, buried back-to-back treys as the Hotshots finished the game on a 15-3 run after trailing, 88-84, with a little less than five minutes left following split charities by Yap.
Raymond Almazan continued his stellar play with 19 points and 13 boards, while Yap finished with just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting.
STAR 99 – Simon 16, Jalalon 14, Lee 14, Ramos 12, Maliksi 11, Pingris 11, Melton 6, Sangalang 6, Dela Rosa 5, Barroca 4, Reavis 0
ROS 91 – Almazan 19, Washington 14, Tolomia 11, Norwood 10, Yap 9, Ponferada 8, Ahanmisi 7, Belga 6, Cruz 5, Chan 2
Quarterscores: 23-23, 42-41, 74-75, 99-91