In a game that was far more lopsided than the score indicated the Purefoods Star Hotshots relied on their firepower to torch the NLEX Road Warriors, 92-76, in the 2014-2015 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Friday, Nov. 14.
Purefoods gunner PJ Simon went 9-of-10 from the field for 20 points while James Yap and Joe Devance scored 19 apiece as Purefoods Star mauled NLEX in an up-and-down running game.
Simon, Yap and Devance all enjoyed a great shooting night and the entire team put up a tough defensive stance to climb up the standings.
“It was a must-win game for us. We needed to win that game, and the guys played like they really wanted to win,” said Purefoods coach Tim Cone.
“Hopefully, this is a harbinger for us. We’re at 2-3, but we can look at that winning two of our last three games. Hopefully, we can make it three-of-four, and so on.”
The Star Hotshots (2 wins, 3 losses) climbed to solo eighth place one slot ahead of the Road Warriors (2-4).
Leading the standings are the unbeaten Alaska Aces (6-0). The other teams include Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (5-1), the San Miguel Beermen (4-1), the Talk N Text Tropang Texters (4-2), the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters (4-2), the Meralco Bolts (3-2), the GlobalPort Batang Pier (3-3), the Kia Sorento (1-5), the Barako Bull Energy Colas (0-5) and the Blackwater Elite (0-6).
As Purefoods gained some headway, the Hotshots sent the Road Warriors reeling with a third straight loss and fourth in their last five games.
“It helped that we knocked down our shots. And I think we got most of our shots on the rhythm of our offense and not on individual play,” said Cone.
The Hotshots ran their patterns well though facing the NLEX press almost all throughout.
Purefoods also applied the press and the Hotshots forced the Road Warriors to commit more turnovers.
Simon, Yap and Devance stood at the forefront of their vicious run that had them leading by as many as 18 points at 75-57.
The Hotshots took control of the game as early as the first period and dominated to the finish with their second unit on the floor giving the team the finishing kick.
The Road Warriors came within 10 points early in the fourth when second stringers Yousef Taha, Justin Melton and Alex Mallari stepped up to help the Hotshots reestablish a big lead.
Then Yap, Simon and Devance to put the finishing touches to the game as the Hotshots cruised to victory.
“Tonight, our first group and second group did a good job in being intense. They moved the ball well. They responded to do the job,” said Cone.
Asi Taulava led the losing team with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
PUREFOODS STAR HOTSHOTS — Peter June Simon 20, James Yap 19, Joe Devance 19, Yousef Taha 7, Justin Melton 6, Alex Mallari 6, Marc Barroca 5, Marc Pingris 4, Allein Maliksi 4, Rafi Reavis 2, Don Allado 0.
NLEX ROAD WARRIORS 76 — Asi Taulava 21, Macmac Cardona 11, Aldrech Ramos 10, Marc Borboran 9, Jonas Villanueva 7, Rico Villanueva 7, Alex Camson 5, Harold Arboleda 3, Juneric Baloria 2, Jeckster Apinan 1, Pamboy Raymundo 0, Niño Canaleta 0, Wynne Arboleda 0.
Quarter scores: 25-18; 50-37; 66-50; 92-76.