PAUL Lee made his former team suffer, while lifting his current team in the process.
Lee’s clutch playmaking combined with Jio Jalalon’s go-ahead basket down the stretch lifted Star to its third straight victory as they turned back Rain or Shine, 99-91, using a deadly finishing kick in the 2016-17 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Peter June Simon led six Star players in double-figures, scoring a team-high 16 points, Lee finished with 14 markers and four assists and Jalalon was also solid with 14 points, five rebounds and six assists off the bench.
As expected, it was a highly competitive game with neither team taking full command.
It was 88-all with just over three minutes left before the Hotshots let loose and finished the game with authority to take the victory.
With the shotclock winding down, Jalalon gave Star the lead, 90-88, as he knocked down a runner in the line to beat the 24-second buzzer with 2:41 remaining.
Lee followed that up with key plays in successive possessions to show the light for the Hotshots as he nailed a triple in the right elbow with 1:54 to push his team’s lead to 93-88.
Then, it was Aldrech Ramos, who provided the dagger, nailing back-to-back triples in the next possessions, making it an insurmountable 99-88 advantage for Star with 35.7 seconds left. Both baskets were courtesy of Lee’s assists.
It was a critical win for the rampaging Hotshots as this allowed them to tie the Elasto Painters in the standings with their identical 3-2 slates. They share the same record with two other teams, TNT KaTropa and Blackwater.
In their first match-up following their blockbuster trade of stars in the off-season, which saw Lee and James Yap, Star’s face of the franchise for more than a decade, switch places, both squads showed the intensity and competitive nature to live up to the hype prior to the game.
“Masaya. I’m very happy na nanalo kami and lahat kami ng teammates ko, were able to step-up,” said Lee.
Ramos ended up with 12 points, while Marc Pingris and Allein Maliksi each had 11 more for Star.
Rain or Shine actually led 88-84 with less than five minutes left but struggled to finish off Star, who ended the game with a tremendous 15-3 blast.
Raymund Almazan led all scorers with his game-high 19 points.
STAR 99 - Simon 16, Jalalon 14, Lee 14, Ramos 12, Maliksi 11, Pingris 11, Melton 6, Sangalang 6, Dela Rosa 5, Barroca 4, Reavis 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 91 - Almazan 19, Washington 14, Tolomia 11, Norwood 10, Yap 9, Ponferada 8, Ahanmisi 7, Belga 6, Cruz 5, Chan 2.
Quarters: 23-23, 42-41, 74-75, 99-91
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.