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Barako blasts falling Star to solidify playoff bid

By Emy Manipol

QUEZON CITY--Despite missing the services of main playmaker RR Garcia for the second consecutive outing due to a shoulder injury, the Barako Bull Energy relied on their streak shooting from beyond the arc and balanced offense to stun the Star Hotshots, 101-83, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.

Barako’s head coach Koy Banal found new heroes in his other guards, Josh Urbuztondo, Emman Monfort, and Jeric Fortuna, who made the most out of the minutes given to them due to the absence of Garcia.

Other veteran players JC Intal and Willy Wilson also stepped up their game to boost their team’s chance of making it in the top six after the eliminations.

During the first quarter, both squad traded basket and even saw Hotshot Justin Melton in a series of highlight plays capped off by a big chase down block on an Urbuztindo layup. Star ended the first on top by three, 28-25.

Both squads kept it close during the 2nd period where both teams traded basket. The close fight between Star and Barako headed towards the half time break tied, 45-45.

The Energy changed the phase of the game and charge for a big second half comeback to stun the Hotshots and bagged their 6th win of the conference.

The Energy led by as much as 18 during the dying minutes of the fourth, and the Hotshots found themselves unable to counter the offensive juggernaut launched by the Energy.

PJ Simon had a miserable shooting day as he was held scoreless throughout the match. Marc Barroca was the lone bright spot for the Star Hotshots as they were held scoreless for five minutes by the Energy during the final period.

Barako’s offense clicked during the fourth canto sparked by veteran Wilson, who out-bests his conference average by contributing 18 points.

Star’s loss spoiled the debut of former De La Salle head coach Juno Sauler as an assistant to chief tactician Jason Webb and pushed the team to the brink of elimination.

Box Scores:

Barako Bull 101-Urbiztondo 24, Intal 18, Wilson 18, Fortuna 14, Pennisi 14, Brondial 6, Monfort 5, Lanete 2, Baracael 0, Miranda 0

Star 83-Barroca 17, Yap 12, Sangalang 11, Pingris 10, Mallari 9, Taha 7, Cruz 5, Melton 5, Pascual 4, Torres 3, Simon 0

Quarterscores: 25-28, 45-45, 67-71, 101-83

Follow her on Twitter: @emymanipol