Star Hotshots shrug early deficit to rout Talk 'N Text
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Star Hotshots finally looked more alive as they bucked a 21-9 first quarter deficit and whipped the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, 105-93, in the 2015 PBA Governors' Cup on Tuesday, June 16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Needless to say that was a big win for us, something we really needed,” said head coach Tim Cone. “Especially after falling flat on our faces against Rain or Shine, we needed a bounce-back game. More importantly we needed to win just to stay in the race for the top 8.”
Marqus Blakely made up for his conference-low 13-point game and finished with 26 points, 16 rebounds and 6 blocks to lead the now 4-5 Star.
The Star’s second unit proved lethal as Joe Devance and Justin Melton contributed 19 and 16 points, respectively, while PJ Simon chipped in 15 markers. All 3 came off the bench and powered a 32-28 fourth quarter to finish off Talk ’N Text.
“We treated tonight like a game 7,” Cone praised his squad. “This team, all through their history since I’ve been around them, it just seemed that whenever their backs are against the wall or whenever they really need a crucial win or moment, their focus is uncanny.”
The Hotshots, whose playoff hopes were in danger if they lost their last 3 elimination games, picked up the pace in the second quarter to carry a 45-44 advantage at halftime.
And after leading by just 73-65 entering the fourth, the Star pulled away sparked by back-to-back hits by Melton from deep and from the baseline as he poured 9 points in that frame.
Simon then went on a solo 6-0 burst to make it 93-75 with 5:36 to play. Devance, who went 4 for 4 from long range, took care of things down the stretch and drained the dagger three-pointer with 1:38 left for a comfortable 105-85 lead as the Star recovered from their loss to Rain or Shine.
In contrast, it was the starters that carried the Texters with Ranidel de Ocampo finishing with 21 points and 5 rebounds.
Larry Fonacier sizzled early with 10 points in the opening period and wound up with 20 points on 4-of-9 three-pointers. Import Steffphon Pettigrew added 18 markers and 10 boards, while Jayson Castro had 17 points and 8 assists.
Talk ’N Text and the Star switched places in the standings with the former dropping to 4-6 and at 9th place, outside of the playoffs.
The Texters have one more game left against the KIA Carnival and are still in the running for the quarterfinals. The Hotshots have Barako Bull and Blackwater as their final assignments.
STAR 105 - Blakely 26, Devance 19, Melton 16, Simon 15, Mallari 11, Pingris 8, Barroca 5, Yap 5.
TALK N' TEXT 93 - De Ocampo 21, Fonacier 20, Pettigrew 18, Castro 17, Daghles 7, Williams 4, Washington 2, Rosser 2, Seigle 2, Carey 0, Reyes Ryan 0.
Quarter scores: 20-25, 45-44, 73-65, 105-93.