AFTER a few years, Star once again tasted a share of a tournament lead.
The Hotshots remained in the zone, steamrolling ailing Mahindra, 97-83, with ease for their fourth straight win to gain a share of the lead in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Using a balanced attack, Star fired from all cylinders en route to the easy victory.
Tony Mitchell led six Star players in double-figures with team-highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Jio Jalalon followed with 14 points, while Aldrech Ramos had 12 and Paul Lee, Peter June Simon and Mark Barroca each added 11 markers for the Hotshots.
Star is now tied with Alaska at the top of the heap, each carrying clean 4-0 slates.
“We played very good pressure defense throughout and learned from our past games,” said Star coach Chito Victolero.
“Wala kaming idea sa import nila. We know he’s a good post player at medyo suwerte kami doon dahil may jetlag pa ‘yung import nila,” added Victolero referring to Mahindra’s new import Keith Wright, who had 17 points. He replaced James White.
Mahindra, on the other hand, suffered its second straight loss and fell further down with a woeful 1-5 record.
Star broke the game wide open in the second period where it outscored Mahindra 21-12.
That led to the Hotshots taking a 43-30 spread at the half.
Star kept its focus the rest of the way and help the helpless Floodbuster at bay for the entire contest.
Meanwhile, winless teams Barangay Ginebra and GlobalPort are clawing as of this report to see who cracks the winning column.
STAR 97—Mitchell 19, Jalalon 14, Ramos 12, Simon 11, Lee 11, Barroca 11, Maliksi 9, Sangalang 4, Reavis 4, Brondial 2, Dela Rosa 0, Mendoza 0.
MAHINDRA 83—Mallari 24, Wright 17, Paniamogan 9, Celda 9, Ballesteros 7, David 5, Revilla 4, Elorde 3, Galanza 3, Guevarra 2, Caperal 0, Deutchman 0, Yee 0, Salva 0.
Quarters: 22-18, 43-30, 70-53, 97-83