by Jonas Terrado
Game Sunday for June 11, 2017
(Mall of Asia Arena)
6:30 p.m. – Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa
Aldrech Ramos drained a clutch triple with 12.8 seconds left and Star avoided a huge meltdown to survive the San Miguel Beermen, 109-105, at the start of their best-of-five semifinal series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ramos took Paul Lee’s pass before sinking the open shot from the top of the key that gave the Hotshots a 108-104 lead and virtually sealing the win after the Beermen nearly erased a 13-point deficit in a two-minute stretch with 12 consecutive points.
He finished with 11 points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks, one of many Star players who made vital contributions for coach Chito Victolero.
“Aldrech was there because I want to spread the floor. Medyo tentative siya nung last two minutes and my instructions that if you’re open, shoot it. And Aldrech responded to my challenge, he shot the ball with confidence,” said Victolero.
Allein Maliksi and import Ricardo Ratliffe topscored with 26 points apiece for the Hotshots, who are hoping to close in on a trip to the finals in Game 2 set Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ratliffe also had 21 rebounds before fouling out, showing why he was a matchup problem for the Beermen in the series opener. But the Hotshots were able to withstand his brief absence with six minutes left in the fourth when Ratliffe committed his fifth personal with back-to-back triples by Mark Barroca and Maliksi to take a 100-88 lead, 4:40 to play.
A technical free throw by Paul Lee put Star ahead, 105-92, with 2:41 remaining, only to see San Miguel force four consecutive steals while seeing Marcio Lassiter wake up from his struggles.
Held scoreless in the first three quarters, Lassiter had 12 points, including a trey with 41 ticks left that pulled the Beermen within 105-104.
It turned out to be the last gasp for San Miguel as Lee fed Ramos for third and final triple of the evening.
Meanwhile, bulky import Joshua Smith leads TNT KaTropa as it faces Barangay Ginebra this Sunday in their own best-of-three semis pairing at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Against Meralco in the quarters, the 330-lb Smith banged in 31 points and grabbed 27 boards en route to a 104-96 overtime win.
STAR 109 — Maliksi 26, Ratliffe 26, Sangalang 12, Ramos 11, Barroca 8, Melton 8, Reavis 7, Lee 4, Simon 4, Jalalon 3.
SAN MIGUEL 105 — Rhodes 34, Fajardo 24, Santos 16, Lassiter 12, Cabagnot 8, Ross 7, Espinas 2, Tubid 2.
Quarters: 23-22; 45-46; 75-72; 109-105.
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