STAR made up for its import’s so-so performance by pouncing on the exit of Blackwater’s own reinforcement to coast to a 103-86 victory that jumpstarted its PBA Governors’ Cup campaign on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With Cinmeon Bowers still adjusting to their system, the Hotshtos’ locals took over as they took advantage of Trevis Simpson suffering an injury early in the payoff period when it was still a nip-and-tuck battle.
PJ Simon flashed his vintage form as he registered 20 points in just 16 minutes off the bench, while Allein Maliksi added 15 points and three boards for the Hotshots, who handed the Elite their second straight defeat.
“We wanted to tighten our defense in the second half,” Star coach Chito Victolero said. “Good thing, pag magadna nangyayari sa depensa namin, maganda rin nangyayari sa opensa.”
"Syempre malaking bagay rin sa amin yung nawala yung import nila," he added.
After all, the Elite were just trailing by five points, 75-70, when Simpson came out with an injury with just 24 seconds gone by in the final frame, never to return and finishing with 24 points, eight boards, three steals, and two assists in 28 minutes.
That’s when the Hotshots broke away as they went on a 26-5 run to put up their biggest lead at 21, 101-80 following a Mark Barroca basket with two minutes and 30 seconds left.
Bowers still finished with decent numbers of 15 points, eight boards, five assists, and one block in almost 30 minutes.
The result put to naught the solid showing of Poy Erram, who registered 11 points, 15 boards, and seven blocks in just his third game back after being out with a knee injury.
Star 103 – Simon 20, Maliksi 15, Bowers 15, Sangalang 14, Reavis 11, Lee 7, Ramos 7, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Mendoza 2, Melton 0, Javier 0, Brondial 0, Abundo 0
Blackwater 86 – Simpson 24, Erram 11, Digregorio 11, Cruz 10, Banal 8, Cervantes 5, Sumang 4, Buenafe 3, Sena 2, Canaleta 2, Pinto 2, Gamalinda 2, Aguilar 2, Pascual 0
Quarterscores: 28-22; 49-40; 75-68; 103-86.