PBA Result: Star Hotshots survive against Mahindra Enforcer April 13, 2016 final score 86-73 victory to catch the last bus to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots squandered an early lead, but rallied behind their smallest guys with the same first name – and the same gutsy games – to pull away late and extend their streak to 15 straight postseason appearances.
Mark Barroca contributed just five points, but showed the leadership as he played with virtually one eye after he sustained an early hit to the face that left his right his eye swollen and almost shut.
Rookie Mark Cruz, on the other hand, picked the best time to break out from his shell as he fired a career-high 18 points, including 14 in the payoff period, to lead the Hotshots, who earned the right to face the eventual top seed either Meralco or San Miguel Beer.
The Enforcers made a third-quarter run, but fell short in their bid to make their first-ever postseason appearance as they finished the conference with just four wins in 11 outings.
“It doesn’t matter what place we go to, at we’re there and buhay pa kami,” said Hotshots coach Jason Webb, whose team’s 5-6 win-loss record was good enough for them to advance. “It’s their God-given heart that they showed in this game.”
Ricardo Ratliffe came through in anchoring the Hotshots anew, tallying a game-high 24 points on top of 16 boards and three assists in 42 minutes.
The Hotshots built a 13-point first-half lead, but saw it disappear in the third quarter, before Cruz sparked his team in the payoff period, where he buried three triples, the last that gave them a 79-69 lead.
The Final Boxscore Result
STAR 86 – Ratliffe 24, Cruz 18, Sangalang 12, Maliksi 11, Simon 8, Barroca 5, Melton 4, Pingris 3, Reavis 1, Pascual J. 0
MAHINDRA 73 – Dehesa 13, Gilchrist 13, Ramos 13, Canaleta 8, Yee 7, Revilla 5, Elorde 4, Guinto 4, Aguilar 2, Bagatsing 2, Ballesteros 2, De Vera 0, Digregorio 0, Pinto 0
Quarterscores: 32-21, 43-36, 53-51, 86-73