Star Hotshots, Bolts advance
Establishing control early and then executing well in the stretch, Purefoods applied the broom on Alaska with a 96-89 decision Sunday night that put the Star Hotshots back in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Denzel Bowles scored 13 of his 32 points in the third period where the Hotshots erected a 20-point lead before they held sway in the face of a searing Alaska charge late in the game for a 2-0 sweep in their quarterfinal duel.
Mark Barroca hit five straight points, including a three-pointer at the 11th-minute mark of the third to put Purefoods ahead by 20, 75-55.
In the second game, Gary David led a furious Meralco rally from 20 points down as the Bolts completed the semifinal cast with a 91-85 overtime win over NLEX for a similar 2-0 feat in their own series.
The Bolts advanced opposite top-ranked Rain or Shine, which nipped Barangay Ginebra, 92-91, on Saturday. Game 1 of the best-of-five series is set tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Up in the semifinals for the Hotshots is No. 2 Talk ‘N Text, which routed Barako Bull, 127-97, in their quarterfinal game on Saturday.
“It certainly got scary in the end there,” Purefoods coach Tim Cone said. “I cant’ tell you how glad I am finishing this series.”
Meanwhile, the Office of the PBA Commissioner suspended for the rest of the season one of the three referees who called the Rain or Shine-Ginebra game Saturday night, which the Elasto Painters won, 92-91.
In a statement, the league said that one of the referees was at fault in failing to call a 24-second violation on the Gin Kings which led to Jeff Chan’s steal off Mike Dunigan and the game-winning breakaway layup.
The league refused to name the sacked referee. The referees that worked the game were Peter Balao, Rommel Gruta and Ray Yante.
PUREFOODS 96—Bowles 32, Devance 16, Barroca 14, Yap 11, Mallari 7, Pingris 6, Maliksi 6, Simon 3, Melton 1, Reavis 0, Pennisi 0.
ALASKA 89—Jazull 22, James 21, Abueva 14, Casio 10, Thoss 8, Baguio 7, Banchero 3, Manuel 2, Hontiveros 2, Exciminiano 0, Menk 0, Dela Cruz 0, Baclao 0.
Quarters: 30-21, 46-43, 70-55, 96-89
MERALCO 91—David 31, Davis 25, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 6, Cortez 4, Ferriols 4, Ildefonso 2, Caram 2, Reyes 0, Wilson 0, Anthony 0, Macapagal 0.
NLEX 85—Thornton 32, Raymundo 12, Villanueva J. 12, Taulava 10, Cardona 6, Villanueva E. 4, Canaleta 3, Borboran 3, Apinan 3, Lingganay 0, Ramos 0.
Quarters: 20-17, 41-32, 66-53, 82-82, 91-85
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