Star back on the winning track after rallying past Blackwater 96-90

PBA Media Bureau

Star needed a huge lift in the fourth period to stave off Blackwater, 96-90, and snap its two-game losing skid Saturday in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.

“I’m very happy, especially on our defense because we reviewed all the games and I showed them the difference in our wins and losses. They saw the difference and they committed in our defense and it showed on our energy,” said coach Chito Victolero, whose side improved to a 5-2 record.

The Hotshots fired a killer 16-2 start in the fourth quarter, punctuated by a Tony Mitchell putback to overturn a 70-65 deficit at the end of the third frame to a commanding 81-72 edge with 6:52 to play.

Mark Cruz still tried to bring the Elite within six with a trey, 92-86, in the final 38.5 ticks, but Paul Lee calmly sank two freebies, 94-86, with 31.8 seconds left to seal the game shut. –

The scores:

STAR (96) – Mitchell 17, Lee 15, Jalalon 13, Melton 10, Maliksi 10, Sangalang 9, Barroca 9, Reavis 6, Dela Rosa 4, Simon 3, Javier 0, Brondial 0.

BLACKWATER (90) – Canaleta 27, Smith 22, DiGregorio 11, Pascual 8, Sena 8, Cruz 6, Pinto 4, Gamalinda 2, Cervantes 2, Buenafe 0.

Quarterscores: 21-23, 48-42, 65-70, 96-90.