Barako Bull Energy relied on a fourth-quarter explosion to post a decisive rout over the Star Hotshots, 101-83, in the 2015-16 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup Sunday, Dec. 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Josh Urbiztondo scored a game-high 24 points, including five three-pointers. Willie Wilson and JC Intal contributed 18 points, apiece, for Barako Bull.
The Energy dominated Star in the decisive fourth quarter after a competitive battle in the first three quarters.
With the scored tied at 71-all with under 11 minutes left, the Energy flexed its muscle to detonate a 17-2 blast in the middle of the fourth. Barako Bull hiked its advantage, 88-73, with under five minutes remaining. Barako Bull held Star scoreless for more than five minutes with its suffocating defense.
The veteran trio of Urbiztondo, Wilson and Intal as well as improving guard Jeric Fortuna filled the void left by injured star RR Garcia.
Fortuna scored all his 14 points in the fourth quarter to give the Energy a huge boost.
Already qualified to the quarterfinals, the Energy improved its record to 5-5, which is good for seventh place. Barako Bull now has a good shot of landing in the top six and gain a twice-to-beat incentive in the next round. It has one game left and is in good position to finish in the top six.
”Our players just responded and I would like to hand it to our veteran seniors. They took responsibility and we’re able to bounce back,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal.
Star fell to 3-7 after losing five of its last six games. It needs to win its final assignment to formalize its entry to the quarterfinals and avoid any complications.
Eight teams are safely in the playoffs. They are the San Miguel Beermen, the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters, the Alaska Aces, GlobalPort Batang Pier, Talk N Text Tropang Texters, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Barako Bull and NLEX. The last two spots are being disputed by Star, Blackwater and Mahindra with one of them joining Meralco in an early vacation.
BARAKO 101 – Urbiztondo 24, Intal 18, Wilson 18, Fortuna 14, Pennisi 14, Brondial 6, Monfort 5, Lanete 2, Baracael 0, Miranda 0.
STAR 83 – Barroca 17, Yap 12, Sangalang 11, Pingris 10, Mallari 9, Taha 7, Cruz 5, Melton 5, Pascual 4, Torres 3, Simon 0.
Quarter scores: 25-28, 45-45, 67-71, 101-83.
Games Wednesday, Dec. 15
Smart Araneta Coliseum
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs. Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – Alaska vs. San Miguel Beer