The Star Hotshots stunned no.1 seed San Miguel Beermen in a 108-99 win to keep their season alive in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series on Monday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
They erased the Beermen’s twice-to-beat edge and forced a winner-takes-all match for a slot in the semifinals.
The Beermen were expected to roll over the Hotshots as they blasted the eight-seeded team in their previous meeting. SMB had a double-digit spread by halftime, but the lead quickly evaporated in the third period behind the exploits of Peter June Simon, Allein Maliksi, and import Ricardo Ratcliffe. Star outscored SMB in that period, 32-22. As a result, SMB was only leading by one, 75-74, at the end of the third canto.
The early part of the payoff period was a see-saw battle as teams exchanged leads and deadlocks. Maliksi broke the 89-all count with a triple, followed by an emphatic three-point play from Simon for a 95-89 advantage against SMB. The Beermen tried to rally back, but they bricked most of their long distance attempts. Missed shots from SMB led to baskets by Rafi Reavis and three more field goals from Ratcliffe to seal the win for the Star Hotshots.
Ratcliffe led the Hotshots with a monster stat of 33 points and 29 rebounds. In the absence of injured main man James Yap, Maliksi and Simon showed the way with 23 and 22 markers respectively. Simon was adjudged the player of the game.
June Mar Fajardo had 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Tyler Wilkerson finished 22 points and 14 rebounds for San Miguel.
The rubber match will be played on Wednesday, April 20 at the same venue.