The Star Hotshots, after four games, finally notched its first win in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup, after beating the Blackwater Elite 122-103 on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Denzel Bowles finished with 28 points plus eight rebounds and five assists while swingman Allein Maliksi contributed 23 points to help the Hotshots improve its win-loss record to 1-3.
“They played very well and ball movement was really good. I think everything was clicking today, local support and Denzel [Bowles] at the right time,” said Star Hotshots coach Jason Webb during the post-game interview.
James Yap posted 13 of his 15 points in the first quarter while playmaker Mark Barroca and veteran Peter June Simon contributed 10 points each. Ian Sangalang and Justin Melton notched eight points apiece also for the Hotshots.
“It was very frustrating for us because I thought we had a pretty good preseason then we had a stretch of games. We were relieved now because we finally got one,” added Webb.
The Hotshots, behind the solid performance of two-time Most Valuable Player Yap and former Best Import Bowles, established a 28-22 lead in the first quarter before pulling away with a commanding 58-41 at halftime.
After besting the Elite, 30-19, in scoring during the second quarter, the Star Hotshots continued its onslaught early in the second half bringing their lead to 92-75.
The team was never threatened for the rest of fourth period after establishing a hefty 109-81 lead.
Blackwater’s 6’8 import Malcolm Jaleel Rhett led the team with 30 points and 21 rebounds while Carlo Lastimosa posted 20 points.
The Star Hotshots outclassed the Blackwater Elite in three-point shooting (12-5), rebounding (48-38), assists (30-19), bench points (52-27) and steals (8-2).
In the second game, the Alaska Aces bounced back from their opening game setback to beat the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters 108-100. Shane Edwards, who replaced injured import Rob Dozier, led Alaska with 36 points and 20 rebounds while Vic Manuel and RJ Jazul contributed 13 points each. With the victory, Alaska’s win-loss record has improved to 1-1.