The Star Hotshots is scheduled for a head-to-head Semi-Finals game against the Meralco Bolts at 7:00 P.M. on October 3, 2017 live from the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex, Laguna.
A commanding 2-0 lead is what the Bolts are after this evening while the Hotshots will attempt to avoid and get buried deep in the series and push it to best of three showdown.
As most of PBA fans are aware, these two teams are masters of defense and Star demonstrated that early in the game where they held Meralco scoreless more than half of the opening period.
The Bolts found its first marker from the free-throws of Cliff Hodge where he split 1-of-2 and it came 5:35 in the first quarter.
Star continued its barrage and they built a lead as high as 17 points.
“It’s always gonna be a defensive struggle with Star,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
“They really hit us hard in the beginning of our game (Sunday) and took us out of our offense,” Black also said. “Luckily for us, our defense held up and kept us in the game and eventually, our shots fell in.”
However, in the last quarter, Meralco not only found its defensive footing they also found their shooting strokes from behind the three-point arc.
Jared Dillinger and Ranidel de Ocampo authored the Bolts’ comeback as they swished their respective three-pointers. Dillinger made his back to back to back treys while RDO who struggled converting shots almost the entire quarter shown how clutch he was.
For Star on the other hand, the last two points they have seen was from a looper of Paul Lee with 3:45 remaining in the fourth. Then after that it was a series of turnovers for the Hotshots until the last buzzer has sounded.
“We need to do something on the mental aspect. We’re beat by their late run,” said Victolero.
“Unfortunately, we floundered, of all times, in the fourth quarter,” said Pingris.
Apart from the action inside the hard-court, there was another one transpired at the bench of Meralco Bolts as Kelly Nabong and Jimmy Alapag involved in a heated exchange of words.
Nabong was seen sitting at the far end of Bolts bench with his jersey half ripped while his team is making a comeback.
Coach Norman Black promised that he will take care of the situation going to their Game 2 match.
“I’ll sort it out tomorrow (Monday) and I’ll take care of it, believe me,” Black guaranteed.