Coach Jason Webb established his first back-to-back victories under the Star Hotshots by posting a come-from-behind 91-75 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
After struggling in the first two quarters resulting in 37-44 deficit, the hard-fighting Hotshots outscored the Fuel Masters in the third (28-10) and fourth quarter (26-21) to score their third win after seven games.
“We actually talked about that the only way to win a game is through our defensive effort,” said Webb during the post game interview. “Credit to these guys their God given talent and their sacrifice.”
“Defensively we’re solid in this game. It doesn’t get any easier for us. We’ve gotta recover and continue to win to erase the four losses we had. Ratliffe really struggled today,” he added.
Replacement import Ricardo Ratliffe finished with 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting in the field plus 17 rebounds, while Peter June Simon racked up 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting along with five rebounds to lead the Star Hotshots.
Ratliffe replaced original import Denzel Bowles last week due to family matters.
Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap contributed 13 points, while Mark Andy Barroca and veteran center Rafi Reavis added eight points apiece also for the Hotshots.
Import Kevin Pinkney led Phoenix with 21 points on a dismal 8-of-23 shooting in the field plus 15 rebounds, while shooting guard Ryan Roose Garcia struggled scoring in the field finishing with 2-of-11 in the field for six points.
The Fuel Masters dropped to 2-4 win-loss record.
In the second game, Calvin Abueva scored a career-high 29 points to power Alaska past Globalport, 103-101.
It was Alaska’s fifth win in six games. The Batang Pier fell to 2-5.