Rafi Reavis catapulted the Star Hotshots to a 3-2 lead, with an 89-80 beating of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in Game 5 of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Friday.
The veteran center Reavis tallied 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field on top of 13 rebounds and two blocks, while playmaker Mark Andy Barroca finished with 12 points and seven assists as the Hotshots inched one game closer to reaching the finals.
“It’s all about team effort that my team refused to lose,” said Star Hotshots coach Chito Victolero during the postgame interview. “No distractions – we only played hard and played to win. Our players have committed to what we desire to happen.”
Paul Lee and Allein Maliksi contributed 10 points each also for the Hotshots.
Down by a point, 21-22, at the end of the opening period, the Hotshots grabbed the lead at halftime, 49-45, after veteran Peter June Simon notched seven points and playmaker Justin Melton five points.
Maliksi and Reavis sparked a 22-10 third quarter blitz by scoring seven points each that resulted in the biggest lead for the Hotshots, 71-55, at the start of the last period. The Gin Kings’ offense was held to just 4-of-16 shooting overall from the field in the entire third quarter.
Down by 16 points in the middle of the final canto, the Gin Kings’ aggressive play highlighted by Jay-Jay Helterbrand’s three-pointer, reduced the deficit to seven points, 80-87, with 2:20 left in the game. But the Star Hotshots’ smothering defense prevented Ginebra from scoring until the last two-minute mark.
Lee’s two free throws virtually sealed the win for the Hotshots with only six ticks left in the game.
Japeth Aguilar scored 13 points to lead the Gin Kings – none of his teammates were able to score in double figures.
STAR: 89 – Reavis 17, Barroca 12, Lee 10, Maliksi 10, Simon 8, Brondial 8, Melton 7, Pingris 6, Sangalang 5, Jalalon 2, Ramos 2, Dela Rosa 2.
GINEBRA: 80 – Aguilar 13, Mercado 9, Ellis 9, Caguioa 9, Helterbrand 6, Cruz 6, Taha 5, Thompson 5, Tenorio 5, Ferrer 4, Mariano 4, Marcelo 3, Devance 2.
Quarter scores: 21-22, 49-45, 71-55, 89-80