PUREFOODS Star regained its old, championship form by outplaying and outhustling NLEX on the way to a convincing 92-76 victory in the PBA Philippine Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Peter June Simon was a picture of consistency for the Hotshots, firing a team-high 20 points built around a near-flawless 9-of-10 field goal shooting, along with four rebounds.
James Yap, Joe Devance, Justin Melton and Yousef Taha also put up fine numbers as the Hotshots finally rediscovered the form that won them the league's last four championships.
“There’ been a lot of talking, but now, we got to live out our play,” said coach Tim Cone after Purefoods won for just the second time in five games in its all-Filpino title defense.
“Both our first group and second group came out being intense, being unselfish and lot of moving the ball, so that’s always great from a coaching standpoint.”
The Road Warriors continued their slide in the standings, falling to 2-4 (win-loss) after absorbing their third straight loss.
Yap matched Simon's 20 points, just five days after a cold 2-of-14 from the floor in an embarrassing 66-89 loss to Barangay Ginebra.
Devance added 19 points, five rebounds and two steals for the Hotshots, who shot a high 53 percent from the field (38-of-72) and held a huge 50-34 advantage in points in the paint.
Purefoods' second unit also outscored NLEX’s bench, 28-18, as Taha scored seven points, Mark Barroca five and Allein Maliksi four.
Veteran slotman Asi Taulava led the Road Warriors with 21 points and a personal season-high 16 rebounds but Mark Cardona had 11 points on a 4-of-11 shooting clip, and had five turnovers.