Star kept its record clean after hammering out a 97-83 win over Mahindra in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tony Mitchell shone on both ends of the floor, finishing with 19 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks as the Hotshots gained a share of the lead with the Alaska Aces at 4-0.
“We played very good defense. We learned a lot from our mistakes last game and we played 48 minutes of Hotshots basketball,” said Star head coach Chito Victolero. “We communicated on defense.”
“That’s really Tony’s strength,” said Victolero on Mitchell’s six blocks. “That’s what we really expect from him. He’s our anchor on defense.”
Mitchell also got plenty of help from the locals especially the guards with Jio Jalalon, Mark Barroca, PJ Simon and Paul Lee hitting double figures in scoring.
Jalalon, the prized rookie, had 14 points while Simon, Lee and Barroca each wound up with 11.
The Hotshots blew the game open in the third quarter where they led by as much as 21 points.
“It was a total team effort,” said Victolero. “We got a headstart but our next two games will be tough facing against Ginebra and San Miguel. We really have to prepare hard against them.”
The Floodbuster paraded a new import in Keith Wright, who posted 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
Wright, who brings in post presence Mahindra coach Chris Gavina thinks his team needs, replaced the more agile James White, who was in attendance to support his team.
“We had no idea with their import we only know he’s a good post player, but I guess he still has jet lag,” Victolero said of Wright.
Mahindra guard Alex Mallari led all scorers with 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field. The Floodbuster slid to 1-4.