MANILA, Philippines – The Star Hotshots made a quick exit out of the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday after suffering the first loss of the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup against Barangay Ginebra, but not before coach Chito Victolero gave them one important instruction.
"Sabi niya, kalimutan na lang, and prepare na kami for the next game," Star guard Paul Lee said of Victolero's message in the wake of a 113-98 setback to the Gin Kings.
[He told us to forget about this and just prepare for the next game.]
The Hotshots squandered a 12-point lead, as they were in control 67-55 in the third quarter. But they could not match Scottie Thompson's activity, as the second-year guard sparked Ginebra's comeback midway through the period.
In the fourth frame, they had no answer for Sol Mercado early, and then they simply fell apart down the stretch as Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio took turns in puncturing their defense.
Import Tony Mitchell had 21 points, but Allein Maliksi (17 points) faded in the second half after torching the Gin Kings for 14 in the first two frames. Lee himself mustered only 12 points.
Star won't play again until April 16, when they take on the San Miguel Beermen. They remain in a good position in the league standings, as their 4-1 slate is tied with Alaska and TNT KaTropa for a share of fourth place.
Yet Lee knows that their loss to Ginebra exposed holes in Star's game that they need to patch up quickly, lest other teams take advantage.
"We need to stay on our system," he stressed. "Kasi hindi naman kami magaling kung mauuwi kami sa one-on-one."
[It won't be good for us if we play one-on-one.]
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