MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Star Hotshots pulled away with a 78-74 Game 1 victory against old rivals Barangay Ginebra to draw first blood in the best-of-7 semifinals in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup on Thursday, February 9, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee led the way for Star with a game-high 18 markers and 8 rebounds, while Mark Barroca and Marc Pingris combined for 26.
Pingris also grabbed 12 boards and dished out 5 assists for the Hotshots, who outscored Ginebra in the paint 44-28.
The Gin Kings, who are riding their built momentum after ousting twice-to-beat Alaska in the quarterfinals, led by as much as 10 with 9:18 left in the second quarter following consecutive triples from Chris Ellis and Jervy Cruz.
The third-seed Hotshots quickly bounced back in the opening minute of the second half as a Barroca three-pointer tied the game at 40.
Lee provided the final push for Star after connecting with a floater with under 30 seconds left in the low-scoring affair.
Chris Ellis anchored the seventh-seed Ginebra with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, while Scottie Thompson contributed 7 markers coupled with 10 boards.
Japeth Aguilar put up 11 points and 6 rebounds, while Sol Mercado and Jervy Cruz added 10 apiece for the Gin Kings.
Game 2 of the Manila Clasico series is on Saturday, February 11, at the MOA Arena.
STAR (78): Lee 18, Barroca 17, Pingris 9, Sangalang 8, Maliksi 7, Jalalon 6, Melton 5, Reavis 5, Dela Rosa 2, Ramos 1, Brondial 0
GINEBRA (74): Ellis 12, Aguilar 11, Mercado 10, Cruz 10, Tenorio 8, Thompson 7, Ferrer 7, Marcelo 5, Mariano 4
Quarter scores: 14-19, 37-38, 60-58,78-74. – Rappler.com