Star bolstered its bid for a top four finish in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup after fending off TNT, 107-97, Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Hotshots are now on a three-game winning streak and improved to a 7-2 card behind leaders San Miguel and Ginebra, which have identical 5-1 records, while the KaTropa slipped to 6-3.
Star was holding a comfortable 100-91 lead after Paul Lee hit a contested triple at the 5:52 mark of the fourth quarter but the KaTropa managed to cut the lead to three, 100-97, with 3:15 remaining after Donte Greene capped off a 6-0 run from the stripe.
Then Paul Lee would spark the Hotshots’ closing 7-0 game-ending run with a long triple from way beyond the line at the 2:57 mark to give Star a 103-97 lead.
Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero knew heading into their game against TNT that breaking their tie in the standings was of utmost importance as a win would give them prime position to challenge for the top two spots in the standings.
“It was very important because we were tied at fourth place and whoever wins will have a chance for the top two spots,” said Victolero whose team now sits at the second seed tied with Meralco.
Ricardo Ratliffe, who played his first game this conference, was stellar for Star as he put up a 37-point, 22-rebound double-double while Paul Lee had 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
Greene led TNT with 29 points and 13 rebounds while Kris Rosales, who started for the absent Jayson Castro, added 15 points and four assists.