Star tramples Ginebra to lead in semi-finals

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Published February 9, 2017 11:06pm

BY RENEE FOPALAN, GMA News

Star Hotshots defeated Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Thursday to lead in the best of seven semi-final series. PHOTO: KC Cruz

Star relied on the hot shooting of Paul Lee and Mark Barroca to defeat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 78-74, on Thursday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

With the win, Star seized a 1-0 lead in their best of seven semifinals series.

Lee had 18 points and five rebounds, while Barroca added 17 points and four boards to lead Star.

Marc Pingris, meanwhile, had nine points, 12 rebounds, and five assists with three blocks.

Down 19-14 after the opening quarter, Star trimmed the lead to just one entering the halftime break, 38-37. They finally took over in the third, grabbing a 50-58 edge heading into the final turn.

An LA Tenorio trey kept it close in the final two minutes, 76-74, but a Paul Lee basket with 26 seconds left made it a two possession game, giving Star the victory.

The Hotshots relied mainly on their defense, shutting down LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar. Tenorio was limited to eight points off a 3 of 11 shooting clip, but the veteran pointguard tallied six assists, four boards, and three steals. Aguilar, meanwhile, had 11 points after connecting on 4 of 13 attempts.

“It’s all about our team effort, team defense. I told them that it’s very close in the end and we need that mental toughness in order for us to win this game,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero after the game. “Si Paul Lee and Marc Pingris, they have a big heart, even the whole team. It’s a grinding series at sabi ko sa kanila we have to stay together.” — BAP, GMA News

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