ANYONE would know what kind of a night it was for Purefoods when Hotshots coach Tim Cone fields Jerwin Gaco at the end of a game.
The Hotshots could afford to light up their victory cigar with over three minutes to go on Friday night when they ended up with a 120-86 pummeling of a weary Alaska in Game One of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots zoomed to a blistering start and never took their feet off the gas pedal en route to the blowout triumph that moved them on the cusp of advancing to the semifinals.
“It looked like an easy game in the end, but there was a lot of early hard work that had to go on to establish that lead,” Cone said.
“But you don’t get too much of these games in the playoffs,” the man who has the most titles in league history added. “We shot the ball extremely well.”
The Hotshots could not seem to miss all-game long as they finished the one-sided match with an impressive 61-percent clip (46-of-76) shooting from the field, a league season-best.
Seven players, led by Denzel Bowles, who had 20 markers, wound up scoring at least eight points for the Hotshots, who pounced on a tired Aces side that was coming off a grueling win over Ginebra last Wednesday.
Bowles added eight boards, while James Yap, Mark Barroca, PJ Simon, Marc Pingris, and Joe Devance scored in twin digits as well for the Hotshots, who scored all but one of the game’s first 15 points and nurtured a lead that ballooned to 36 points.
Even the seldom-used Gaco contributed four points on 2-of-2 shooting, one rebound, and one assist in three minutes of play.
There were no rallies for the Aces as the comeback kings in the Philippine Cup finals fell into a hole too deep to climb out of. While Damion James registered 21 points and 10 boards, the Aces import found little support from the locals.
PUREFOODS 120 – Bowles 20, Yap 18, Barroca 14, Simon 13, Pingris 11, Devance 10, Pennisi 8, Maliksi 6, Melton 5, Reavis 5, Mallari 4, Gaco 4, Allado 2, Alvarez 0
ALASKA 86 – James 21, Jazul 12, Manuel 10, Banchero 9, Eman 8, Dela Rosa 6, Casio 6, Abueva 4, Baclao 4, Baguio 2, Exciminiano 2, Dela Cruz 2, Thoss 0, Hontiveros 0
Quarterscores: 31-7, 54-29, 88-59, 120-86