TONY Mitchell brought the backboard down then Paul Lee brought Star home with the win.
The Hotshots import threw down a power putback slam that brought the rim down and highlighted his solid play in leading his team to 99-93 a victory over Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday night in Batangas.
Mitchell registered 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 18 boards, while Paul Lee proved to be a thorn in the side of his former team as the Hotshots shrugged off a late Elasto Painters rally to hold on to their sixth win in eight games after the Petron Saturday Special.
Jeff Chan led a late ROS comeback that fell short as his team absorbed a second straight setback to drop to an even 4-4 win-loss card.
Lee picked up the slack in the absence of Allein Maliksi, Jio Jalalon, and Marc Pingris as he finished with a game-high 23 points, two on a hanging jumper over Gabe Norwood that gave the Hotshots the lead for good at 92-90 with less than three minutes left.
It also sparked seven unanswered points punctuated by that Mitchell dunk off a Mark Barroca miss that saw the backboard collapse and forced a short game delay to have it fixed.
After the rim went back up, so did the Hotshots’ standing as they grabbed a second successive win to join TNT KaTropa in fourth spot.
Chan scored seven of his team-high-tying 20 points in the last five minutes, two from the free-throw line in a play that knotted the count at 90 with a little less than three minutes remaining after trailing by as many as 14 points earlier.
But that set the stage for the Hotshots’ late surge that sealed the deal.
STAR 99 – Lee 23, Mitchell 21, Barroca 11, Melton 9, Simon 8, Dela Rosa 8, Reavis 8, Sangalang 7, Mendoza 2, Javier 2, Brondial 0
ROS 93 – Taggart 20, Chan 20, Norwood 10, Belga 10, Tiu 8, Yap 5, Ahanmisi 5, Cruz 5, Washington 4, Maiquez 3, Ponferada 3, Tolomia 0
Quarterscores: 21-18, 48-41, 81-73, 99-93