MANILA — Jio Jalalon just crossed the halfcourt line with less than a second left in the third quarter and had to throw up a heave to beat the buzzer.
The long tom rattled in, and that capped a huge quarter for Star that spelled the difference in its crucial match against NLEX.
The Hotshots got a crack at grabbing a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals with a 101-93 win against the Road Warriors on the final day of the elimination round at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday night.
Trailing for most of the first half, Star exploded in the third frame, dropping 39 points, more than the points it got in the first 24 minutes, to turn a 36-44 halftime deficit to a 75-69 lead entering the fourth.
The team then finished the job in the fourth, pulling away late in the period to get a winning margin enough to put the club ahead of NLEX and San Miguel on quotients should they end up tied at 7-4.
PJ Simon tallied 16 points, one rebound, and four assists, while Paul Lee made 15 points and three rebounds to lead the Hotshots, who now must hope that the Beermen will fall to the Meralco Bolts later Sunday to snatch the fourth seed and the quarterfinal bonus.
Aaron Fuller made 16 markers, 17 boards, three dimes, two blocks, and two steals for the Road Warriors, who despite a hot start fell to the twice-to-beat disadvantage.
Simon 16, Lee 15, Acox 14, Ramos 14, Barroca 13, Dela Rosa 8, Melton 6,
Pingris 6, Sangalang 4, Jalalon 3, Brondial 2, Reavis 0
Fuller 16, Mallari 13, Fonacier 12, Alas 9, Al-Hussaini 9, Quinahan 9,
Lastimosa 8, Taulava 5, Tiongson 5, J. Villanueva 3, Soyud 3, Baguio 1, Rios 0
Quarterscores: 17-25, 36-44, 72-69, 101-93