• Star strengthens Top 4 bid with rout of Barako

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    Star Hotshots’ Marqus Blakely no. 23 goes for a one-hand shot against Barako Bull Energy Cola’s Liam McMorrow during the elimination round of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday. RUY MARTINEZ

    Star Hotshots’ Marqus Blakely no. 23 goes for a one-hand shot against Barako Bull Energy Cola’s Liam McMorrow during the elimination round of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday. RUY MARTINEZ

    Grand Slam winners Star Hotshots outclassed Barako Bull Energy Cola, 117-89, to claim their fifth win in the 40th Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

    Import Marqus Blakely piled up a game-high 33 points along with eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while James Yap and Peter June Simon finished with 17 points and 15 points, respectively.

    Alex Mallari and Allein Maliksi added a combined 21-point showing.

    “It was tough out there having to pour it on against coach Koy (Banal). That’s why I don’t like coaching I don’t like pouring it out on teams. We didn’t know exactly what we needed and just knew we had to keep pushing. We played well from the very start,” said Hotshots head coach Tim Cone.

    “We’ve assured ourselves of the top eight with this win tonight. It was a good all-around performance tonight, everybody contributed. Hopefully this could carry over to the Blackwater (Elite) game and the playoffs. James (Yap) has been shooting really well in practices, he’s been killing in practices. We had a bad let down against Rain or Shine but we recovered quickly,” he added.

    The Hotshots improved to 5-5 while the Energy Cola fell to 6-5.

    Barako’s towering import Liam Paul McMorrow scored 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead his team.

    So far, Alaska (8-2), San Miguel Beer (8-3), Global¬port (6-4) and Barako have already secured spots in the quarterfinals.

    In the second game, Rain or Shine blasted Meralco, 96-89, to earn a twice-to beat edge in the quarterfinals with a 7-4 card.

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