The Star banked on its solid defense and balanced scoring to demolish Mahindra, 97-83, for a 4-0 start in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Six players scored double figures for the Hotshots, who joined Alaska at the top of the standings.
“We played a very good defense and we learned from our mistakes last game. We played tremendous pressure defense for 48 minutes,” said Hotshots coach Chito Victolero, referring to their 105-103 squeaker over NLEX last Friday.
“It’s also a 48-minute of Star Hotshots basketball. I’m very happy we executed well and it’s a total team effort,” he added.
Import Tony Mitchell delivered an all-around performance for Star with 19 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks while rookie Jio Jalalon and Aldrech Ramos contributed 14 and 12 markers, respectively.
Mark Andy Barroca, Paul Lee and veteran Peter June Simon added 11 points apiece while Allein Maliksi contributed nine points also for the Hotshots, who tallied 12 steals against four of the Floodbuster.
The Star forced Mahindra to commit 18 turnovers and translated them to 25 turnover points.
Former Hotshots Alex Mallari led Mahindra with 24 points and six rebounds while new import Keith Wright finished only with 17 points on 8-of-22 shooting from the field, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in his debut for the Floodbuster.
Wright replaced Mahindra’s original import James White, who averaged 30.5 points in four games. Mahindra dropped to 1-4.
After a close first period, the Star pulled away at the half, 43-30, and erected an 86-65 lead on Rodney Brondial’s jumper, 6:51 remaining in the game. The Floodbuster never had an answer to that surge en route to a resounding loss.