MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Aldrech Ramos buried a huge 3-pointer from the top of the key to turn a precarious one-point lead to a 4-point cushion with 12.8 seconds remaining, and the Star Hotshots survived a late hot rally from the San Miguel Beermen, 109-105, on Saturday, June 10 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots hung on to draw first blood in the best-of-5 semifinals in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup. Game 2 of this series is on Monday, June 12.
Star blew a 14-point lead with 3:17 remaining as San Miguel stormed right back with a 14-1 surge, that included a couple of big Marcio Lassiter triples, before Ramos' timely trey snuffed out the Beermen's comeback hopes.
"We know this is a grinding game. It was all our heart and our will to win," said head coach Chito Victolero. "San Miguel kept on fighting, but in the last two minutes nakahabol pa sila (they came back) because they know what to do. But my players kept on fighting.
"That's what I told Aldrech. He's there to spread the floor. He was tentative in the last two minutes. I told (all of) them if you're open, shoot. Good thing Aldrech responded to my challenge."
Allein Maliksi sizzled for 26 points on 5-of-6 shooting from deep on top of 3 assists. Ricardo Ratliffe also had 26 markers with 21 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals to his name. Although the import also turned the ball over 10 times.
Ian Sangalang posted 12 points with 5 rebounds and two steals, while Ramos scored 11 and added 4 boards.
Charles Rhodes topscored for the Beermen with 34 points while grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out 3 assists, and getting 3 steals.
June Mar Fajardo struggled with foul trouble but still managed 24 points and 9 rebounds. Arwind Santos and Lassiter registered 16 and 12 points, respectively, as San Miguel was outshot from 3 (7-of-24 for the Beermen, 12-of-27 for the Hotshots).
Star (109): Ratliffe 26, Maliksi 26, Sangalang 12, Ramos 11, Barroca 8, Melton 8, Reavis 7, Lee 4, Simon 4, Jalalon 3.
San Miguel (105): Rhodes 34, Fajardo 24, Santos 16, Lassiter 12, Cabagnot 8, Ross 7, Espinas 2, Tubid 2.
Quarter scores: 23-22, 45-46, 75-72, 109-105.