Star continued its dominance over Phoenix, sweeping their best-of-3 quarterfinals series with a 91-71 rout Monday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots booked the second semifinals ticket in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup and will now await the winner of the Ginebra-Alaska series.
Paul Lee and Marc Pingris teamed up to help Star secure another rout, of the Fuel Masters. The shifty guard from Tondo finished with 17 points, nine assists, and four rebounds, while the energetic forward from Pangasinan posted 16 markers, nine boards and three assists.
The duo conspired for the Hotshots as they unfurled a telling 15-1 run in the third frame to turn a close 42-37 advantage to a commanding 57-38 lead midway through the period.
The lead further ballooned to 26, 79-53, with 8:10 to play in the fourth thanks to an Ian Sangalang basket.
“Our defense stepped up in this game. We limited them under 86 points and that’s our goal. Credit to players, coaches, and management. We worked hard for this,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero.
Jio Jalalon and Sangalang both wound up with 11 points and six rebounds apiece as Star racked up its sixth straight win.
Matthew Wright paced the Fuel Masters with 24 points and five rebounds, while Simon Enciso scored 12 in the defeat.
STAR 91 – Lee 17, Pingris 16, Jalalon 11, Sangalang 11, Maliksi 8, Barroca 7, Abundo 6, Ramos 6, Melton 5, Brondial 4, Reavis 0, Javier 0, Dela Rosa 0.
PHOENIX 71 – Wright 24, Enciso 12, Intal 10, W. Wilson 6, Borboran 5, Baguio 4, J. Wilson 3, Torres 3, Kramer 2, Alolino 2, Dehesa 0, Miranda 0.
Quarters: 22-18, 42-35, 65-49, 91-71.