PASAY--Paul Lee and Rafi Reavis connived for a multiple of huge plays in the clutch as Star dealt another stunner on Ginebra, 91-89, to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series, Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The spitfire from Tondo came up big in crunch time anew, scoring a breakaway lay up off a crucial Ginebra miss to give the Hotshots a four-point cushion, 89-85, with less than a minute left.
After Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson banked in a short jumper to pull the Gin Kings back to within two, the 15-year veteran Reavis then grabbed a clutch offensive rebound and knocked down two pressure-packed free throws to secure the win for the Hotshots.
Lee, a novice to a Manila Clasico playoff series but never in big time moments, remained to be the thorn on the side of Ginebra, making him the most unwanted guy inside the Barangay. He finished with 17 points, four rebounds and an assist.
Star looked to run away with an easy win early after leading by 10, 33-23, sometime in the second quarter.
But Ginebra refused, answering with a 7-0 counter-attack to stay within striking distance, and was able to trade baskets with their counterparts since.
The Hotshots, though, still ended the half ahead by five, 50-45.
They stayed on the driver's seat till the end of the third canto, 72-69, but yielded the advantage when Thompson scored a jumper for Ginebra, 83-81, 4:51 to go.
After the affair was knotted at 85 inside three minutes, rookie Jio Jalalon hit a jumper to give the lead back to Star, 87-85, approaching the last two minutes.
Ginebra had a great look to tie the game but Sol Mercado botched a lay up that led to the Lee transition basket.
Star weathered a breakout game from rookie Kevin Ferrer, who sizzled for career-high 25 points on five triples, all of which went for naught.
Japeth Aguilar posted a double-double of 16 points and 15 boards as well for Ginebra while Thompson came out four assists shy of a triple double with 17 markers, 10 rebounds and six dimes.
Game 3 is on Monday at the said venue.
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