Hotshots, Aces eye fourth win

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The Star Hotshots and the Alaska Aces will be gunning for a fourth victory when they clash today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

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The Hotshots and the Aces will meet at 7 p.m. after the 4:15 p.m. clash between the Floodbuster and the Meralco Bolts.

The Hotshots were reminded to be consistent on both offense and defense by their mentor.

“Proper mindset is the key to this game and we need to be consistent on both ends,” Star Hotshots coach Chito Victolero told The Manila Times via text message. “We’re both 3-3 and both teams need this game to solidify our playoff chances.”

“Both teams were also coming from a loss and a long layoffs during the holidays, so we need to focus and play as a team for the whole game,” Victolero added.

Combo guard Paul Lee, who posted an average of 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in their last six games, will lead the Star Hotshots together with Aldrech Ramos, Peter June Simon, Jean Marc Pingris, rookie Jio Jalalon, Rome Dela Rosa, Justine Melton, Rafi Reavis, Mark Barroca and center Ian Sanggalang.

Star Hotshots’ Paul Lee drives on James Yap of Rain or Shine during a PBA Philippine Cup game at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

Star Hotshots’ Paul Lee drives on James Yap of Rain or Shine during a PBA Philippine Cup game at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

Alaska coach Alex Compton, on the other hand, warns his players on the Star Hotshots’ offensive capability. “Star Hotshots literally have the most potent offense in the league right now. They are leading the league in two and three-point field goal shooting,” said Compton.

Alaska will be relying on Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Jayvee Casio, Jake Pascual, Sonny Thoss, RJ Jazul, Dondon Hontiveros, Mike Magat, Chris Banchero and Kevin Racal.

“They have great guards who can shoot the ball and penetrate,” Compton added. “Three-point shooter Aldrech (Ramos) is also a significant threat and they are very deep. We will need to be at our very best to have a chance to win this game.”

Mahindra, meanwhile, is upbeat after winning over heavily favored Blackwater on Christmas Day. The victory halted their five-game losing skid. The Floodbuster possess a 1-5 win-loss record.

“This game is our first chance this conference to maintain a winning streak that we started with a big win on Christmas Day against a good Blackwater team,” said assistant coach Chris Gavina via text message.

Mahindra will lean on Mark Yee, LA Revilla, Ryan Arana, Jayson Ballesteros and Alex Mallari.

“Just like I’ve been telling the players all season long, that as long as we believe we can win and we prepare our mindset to do so, we can always achieve what we put our minds to. Meralco is a very well-coached team that is looking to end a losing streak. We are preparing for them to be just as hungry as us to win,” Gavina added.

Meralco is bent to stop a four-game losing run.

“Another must win game for us,” said Bolts coach Norman Black. “We just want to play better, keep improving and get a win. Offensively and defensively, we need to raise our game to a higher level. Mahindra is in the same situation that we are in so it should be a dogfight.”

The Bolts are holding a 2-5 win-loss record.

Rookies Jonathan Grey and Ed Daquioag along with Cliff Hodge, Jared Dillinger, Reynel Hugnatan, Baser Amer and Chris Newsome are expected to step up for Meralco.

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