STAR finally tasted sustained success under coach Jason Webb as it rolled past Phoenix, 91-75, to gain some momentum in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Hotshots banked on a third-quarter windup that turned the game around and set the tone for the victory, their first back-to-back wins under their rookie mentor.
Ricardo Ratliffe bucked foul trouble and starred in the reversal in the third for the Hotshots, who hiked their win-loss record to 3-4 and dealt the Fuel Masters their fourth loss in six games.
“The only way we were going to win was with our defensive effort,” Webb said. “All of the guys are just hard working. They didn’t quit and eventually, nagkabaliktad.”
The Hotshots heeded their coach’s call particularly in the third period where they clamped down on defense to outscore the Fuel Masters, 28-10, and turn an 11-point deficit into an 11-point lead heading into the final frame.
In all, they held the Fuel Masters to a poor 32-percent shooting on the way to limiting them to under 80 points.
Ratliffe made up for incurring three fouls in the first half with a spirited second-half showing, finishing with 21 points, 17 boards, one block, and one assist in 29 minutes.
PJ Simon took over in the payoff period, firing 11 of his 17 points to secure the rout.
Kevinn Pinkney registered 21 markers and 15 boards to lead the Fuel Masters in a losing effort.
STAR 91 – Ratliffe 21, Simon 17, Yap 13, Barroca 8, Reavis 8, Pingris 7, Sangalang 7, Maliksi 6, Pascual J. 4, Cruz 0, Melton 0
PHOENIX 75 – Pinkney 21, Lanete 12, Intal 10, Baracael 7, Garcia 6, Urbiztondo 6, Wilson 6, Monfort 4, Pennisi 3, Brondial 0
Quarterscores: 22-19, 37-44, 65-54, 91-75