Purefoods hands Barako Bull 4th straight loss
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Defending champions Purefoods Star Hotshots won its third consecutive game and sent the Barako Bull Energy down a 4-game losing slide, 103-96, in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Tuesday, March 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Denzel Bowles poured 21 of his 34 points in the pivotal third quarter as the Hotshots pulled away from a 47-all halftime deadlock to lead by as much as 11, 81-70, late in that period and wrest control of the game.
Bowles, whose corner three-pointer at the 2:39 mark of the third pushed Purefoods ahead by 10, also had 17 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.
“I thought our team showed real grit the whole night,” said head coach Tim Cone.
“The game didn’t get started the way we wanted. We didn’t get opportunities, we got frustrated. We didn’t have the energy that we normally have. So I thought we played with real grit tonight and that’s the kind of stuff that wins in the playoffs.”
The Hotshots managed enough energy to buck a slow start after a taxing 118-117 survival over Talk ’N Text in triple overtime last Saturday, March 14 in Davao City.
“It’s a great game for us to play coming out of town from a triple overtime win,” Cone said, “having to reach deep and find some energy.”
Joe Devance registered a near triple-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists for Purefoods, which is already assured of a spot in the top 5.
Devance’s triple with 2:16 left shoved Purefoods ahead by a comfortable 97-85. But JC Intal, who tallied 15 markers, gave the Hotshots a scare with a trey that made it just a 97-92 affair with just over a minute to play.
Marc Pingris (8 points, 7 rebounds), however, kept Barako Bull at bay with a baseline jumper for a 99-92 edge with 46.9 seconds remaining. Pingris connected on a lay-up later on with 9 seconds left to seal the deal.
Allein Maliksi contributed 13 points, including 7 in the fourth. He scored from beyond the arc midway in the payoff period to erect Purefoods’ biggest lead at 94-76.
Barako Bull import Solomon Alabi finished with 29 points and 19 rebounds. Chico Laneta and Solomon Mercado tallied 21 and 14 points, respectively, as Barako Bull continued to slump after starting the conference at 3-0.
Purefoods, on the other hand, has proved streaky this conference, going on a 4-0 winning run to start and then losing 3 straight before making another 3-0 winning streak for a 7-3 record in second place.
The Hotshots are set to face Meralco on Friday, March 20 in a rematch of last conference’s quarterfinals where the Bolts eliminated the Grand Slam champions.
“They know us very well,” said Cone, who added their new goal – after achieving their initial mission of entering the top 6 – is now to finish at the top 2 with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Interestingly, Cone will be going up against Meralco import Josh Davis, whom he admitted was his first choice for this conference. He opted go for imports from China instead because he did not want to pay the buyout fee.
“Josh Davis was my favorite player in the NBA D-League,” he shared. – Rappler.com