The Star Hotshots might have finished outside the top two in the 2017 Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination round but they showed that they are a legitimate title threat after a dominant 118-86 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Monday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots had six players scoring in double digits and led from bell to bell as they took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three quarterfinals duel.
Ricardo Ratliffe was unstoppable in the game with 29 points and eight rebounds. Still undefeated in his second stint with the Hotshots, the prolific import made 12 of his 14 field-goal attempts.
Allein Maliksi, who played off the bench, was named the Best Player of the Game with 16 points, two rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Crew paced the Painters with 19 points and 13 rebounds while Belga finished with 18 points but they did not get enough from everyone else. Their usual reliable scorers came up empty with James Yap, Jeff Chan, and Jericho Cruz combining for only 14 points (5-of-24).