MANILA –Star banked on its tough defense to trounce TNT, 88-77, in the main game of the PBA Philippine Cup doubleheader at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.
The Hotshots took control of the game through an 11-0 run in the first quarter and stretched their lead to as high as 19, 59-40, in the third quarter.
The KaTropa still put up a fight, keeping the Hotshots scoreless for 5:15 and came to within seven, 77-84, with 1:13 left in the game.
That turned out to be TNT’s last gasp as the team went scoreless from thereon and Rafi Reavis ended Star’s drought with a dagger tip-in.
“The mindset is our defense versus their offense. Maganda yung game plan. Na-execute ng players. I’m very proud with them,” said Coach Chito Victolero after the game
Ian Sangalang made 14 points, six rebounds, and one steal for the Hotshots, who forced a five-way tie for fifth to ninth places with their victims, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, the Phoenix Fuel Masters, and the Alaska Aces, who suffered a 100-103 loss to the Blackwater Elite earlier Sunday.
Jayson Castro led the KaTropa, who only scored a point in the final 3:49 of the game, with 16 points, three rebounds, and four assists.