Star soars to 2-0 semifinals lead over Ginebra

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Star Hotshots maintain their mastery over rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel as they escaped with a 91-89 victory in Game 2 of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Saturday, February 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Stretching their win streak to 8 games since the eliminations, the Hotshots have now taken a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series with their guards taking charge.

Paul Lee dropped 17 points including the crucial fastbreak layup off a steal for the 4-point cushion, 89-85, with 58.4 seconds remaining in the game.

Rookie Jio Jalalon provided back-up with 9 points, plus the go-ahead bucket, 87-85, with over two minutes left. Mark Barroca added 8 points while Allein Maliksi came off the bench with 14 markers.

Marc Pingris chipped in 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Rafi Reavis produced 9 points with 5 boards.

"It's all about our big heart, our desire to win, our effort, our aggressiveness. I'm very proud of my players," said head coach Chito Victolero.

Rookie Kevin Ferrer paced the Gin Kings with 25 points on 5-of-11 shooting from deep while Scottie Thompson came close to a triple-double with his 17 markers, 10 boards, and 6 assists.

Japeth Aguilar had a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds across his name to round out the double-digit scoring for Ginebra, which turned the ball over 17 times compared to Star's 12.

The Gin Kings outrebounded their foes, 46-34, but were thin on bench production with Star digging deep for 45 bench points as opposed to Ginebra's 16.

This is the second straight close game between the two rivals with Star winning by just 4 points, 78-74, in Game 1.

Game 3 of this series is on Monday, February 13.

Scores:

Star (91): Lee 17, Maliksi 14, Melton 11, Pingris 10, Jalalon 9, Reavis 9, Barroca 8, Sangalang 6, Ramos 5, Dela Rosa 2, Simon 0, Brondial 0.

Ginebra (89): Ferrer 25, Thompson 17, Aguilar 16, Tenorio 8, Mariano 7, Mercado 6, Cruz 2, Caguioa 2, Ellis 2, Taha 2, Helterbrand 2, Marcelo 0, Jamito 0.

Quarter scores: 27-23, 50-45, 72-69, 91-89.

– Rappler.com