By Patrick Sutare
QUEZON CITY--Star shook off an apparent rust and took care of business later on to score a win in its PBA Commissioner's Cup debut at the expense of Phoenix, 101-82, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Despite the absence of star forward and leader Marc Pingris, who was out due to an injury, the Hotshots needed just few minutes off the clock to find their offensive arsenal back, thanks to their reinforcement Tony Mitchell, who mustered 24 and 16 boards.
Star fell behind early, 11-4, before getting its groove to recover and even ignite an onslaught to finish the first ahead by eight, 30-22.
The Fuel Masters would inch closer at the half, 43-46, but the Hotshots went en fuego in the second half to finish them off in lopsided fashion.
Making a stellar impression in his first game as a Hotshot, Mitchell immediately showed off what his skill set is made of, including his offensive repertoire marked by a couple of highlight dunks and defensive energy that evidently rubbed off to his teammates.
Mark Barroca and Allein Maliksi added 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Newly acquired import Jameel McKay exploded for 34 points and grabbed 20 rebounds for Phoenix, all of which went for naught as the Fuel Masters split its first two games at 1-1.
JC Intal had 13 while John Wilson contributed 10 in the loss.