Scorching Hotshots destroy Aces for 1-0 lead
MANILA, Philippines – After his team beat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to set a best-of-three series with the Purefoods Star Hotshots, Alaska Aces head coach Alex Compton jokingly requested import Denzel Bowles to miss a few shots when their teams face off.
Unfortunately for Compton, Bowles didn’t listen.
And neither did the rest of his teammates.
Shooting a red-hot 61% from the field, Purefoods drew first blood in their 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series with Alaska, 120-86, to take a 1-0 lead on Friday, March 27, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game 2 is on Sunday, March 29, also at The Big Dome.
Bowles finished with 20 points in addition to 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks, while James Yap torched Alaska with jumper after another en route to 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
“I’d be a lot of happier if it was game two instead of game one. Really, all we did was get a 1-0 lead in the series,” a reserved Tim Cone said after the game, indicating that the series is still far from decided.
“A one point win is the same thing as a 30-point win… this one doesn’t mean much unless we come back and beat them on Sunday,” he said.
Purefoods was locked and loaded from the get-go, opening the first period on a 14-1 run that extended to a 31-7 lead after 12 minutes of play. The Hotshots shot 65% from the field in the first period, including a 4-of-7 display from downtown.
Alaska, on the other hand, went 3-of-20 in the first quarter and committed four turnovers. The Aces cut the deficit to 18 at one point in the second quarter, but the Hotshots finished the first half strong to erect a 54-29 advantage.
The outcome of the game was no longer a question after.
“We shot the ball extremely well tonight, and got off to a really good start,” said Cone, who later added:
“The reason we were so focus is because we have so much respect for Alaska, and we know how good they are.”
“We also know that they are good at bouncing back,” said the Purefoods head coach, who led his team to their biggest postseason victory in franchise history. “…so we know on Sunday they’re going to come back and use this game as motivation for the next one.”
Mark Barroca finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists for the Hotshots, while PJ Simon put up 13 markers. Marc Pingris registered 11 points and 8 rebounds, while Joe Devance nearly compiled a triple-double with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Damion James spearheaded the Aces with 21 points and 10 rebounds. RJ Jazul came off the bench to provide 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
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
Quarter Scoring: 31-7, 54-29, 88-59, 120-86