Star clinches semis berth after completing sweep of GlobalPort

By Ivan Saldajeno
QUEZON CITY--Fifth-seeded Star officially knocked off fourth-seeded GlobalPort from the PBA Governors' Cup semifinal contention with a 101-94 win in their rubber match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

But unlike their previous meeting on Friday where the Hotshots easily raced to a 61-point cushion en route to a 53-point rout, the Batang Pier somehow found a way to get back from a huge hole.

Star went ahead by as much as 20, 45-25, late in the second quarter as P.J. Simon led the team's charge in the period.

But GlobalPort slowly crawled back as Jarrid Famous and Stan Pringle led their club;s own rally to take a 65-64 advantage late in the third.

Joe Devance led the Hotshots' third period-ending 6-0 run to give them a 70-65 edge, but the Batang Pier opened the fourth with their own six-point mini-rally to retake the lead, 71-70.

Back-to-back field goals pushed Star to the driver's set anew, 74-71, only to be cancelled by a Terrence Romeo's equalizing triple.

But Alex Mallari ignited the game-turning 18-5 rally by the Hotshots by making four straight markers while capping it with a dagger triple to give them a 92-79 cushion with about two minutes left and never looked back.

Marqus Blakely tallied a triple-double with 15 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists along with four steals and three blocks for Star, which overcame a twice-to-beat disadvantage and will take on early semifinalist Alaska in a best-of-five series. Mallari had a double-double of his own with 17 markers and 13 boards.

Famous played the entire game and finished with 38 points, 21 rebounds, two blocks, and one steal.

Box Scores:

Star 101-Mallari 17, Yap 17, Blakely 15, Simon 14, Devance 13, Taha 8, Barroca 6, Pingris 6, Melton 5, Pennisi 0

GlobalPort 94-Famous 38, Pringle 16, Romeo 15, Krayem 9, Jensen 7, Buenafe 6, Kramer 3, Semerad 0, Miranda 0

Quarterscores: 21-16, 49-40, 70-65, 101-94