Star import powers Hotshots to share of lead | Inquirer Sports

Star import powers Hotshots to share of lead

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 10:42 PM April 05, 2017

Tony Mitchell

Tony Mitchell

There was something in the way Star manhandled Mahindra on Wednesday night that surely made the Hotshots even more fearsome as far as the rest of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup field is concerned.

Tony Mitchell took over in the second period and led a swashbuckling breakaway by the Hotshots before taking it easy the rest of the way as Star drubbed the Floodbuster, 97-83, to take a piece of the elimination round lead at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

Supposedly the defensive anchor of a team teeming with so much offensive local talent, Mitchell showed—for the second straight game—that he has the tools to be the go-to scorer.

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And that facet of Mitchell’s game certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed as far as coach Chito Victolero is concerned. In fact, Victolero acknowledged that he has an offensive weapon that he can unleash anytime he sees fit.

“He has that (take-over capabilities),” Victolero said of his import, who finished with 19 points that went with 14 rebounds and six swats. “We’ve talked about that and he knows that he can do it anytime, like he did the last game.”

Victolero was talking of the narrow win over NLEX last week, where Mitchell took over the fourth period and scored 15 points that allowed the Hotshots to dodge the upset ax.

Against the Floodbuster, Mitchell fired nine of the team’s 21 second quarter points as Star peeled away from a 22-18 first quarter count to go on and lead by as large as 21 and make it a cruise from there.

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But Victolero still wants Mitchell, in the meantime, to focus on defense, knowing that he has a battery of scorers at his disposal.

“His strength is his defense,” Victolero said. “And that’s our system. It all starts with our defense. But we know that he can run the floor on offense and he can also play a solid post-up game.”

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Rookie Jio Jalalon was one of five locals which tossed in 11 or better and the Hotshots won pulling away even with their stars’ minutes managed to a great extent.

Mitchell’s scoring, though, will come in handy once Star goes into the meat of its elimination round schedule this weekend, when the Hotshots play Barangay Ginebra this Sunday and powerhouse San Miguel Beer the week after.

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The Kings got into the win column in the second game after dealing GlobalPort a 113-96 beating behind the 29 points of Justin Brownlee and 15 from LA Tenorio.

TAGS: mahindra, PBA Commissioner's Cup, Star Hotshots

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