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Jalalon saves Star as buzzer-beater derails NLEX's comeback

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Jio Jalalon hit the winning basket as Star held off NLEX, 105-103, in the nightcap of the PBA Commissioner's Cup games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

Jalalon buried a one-dribble pull-up from the corner just as time expired as the Hotshots survived a streaky Road Warriors squad in the second half to stay undefeated in the conference.

Star appeared to be heading to a blowout win after taking a 21-point lead, 51-30, late in the second quarter.

But NLEX came out of its halftime huddle firing, overcoming the deficit and even taking a 72-68 lead late in the third period.

The game went down the wire, and it boiled down to its last two plays.

New Road Warrior Rabeh Al-Hussaini missed a quick jump hook that could have put them up.

With no timeout left, however, the Hotshots had to execute the winning shot on their own.

Paul Lee was forced to kick out the ball to Tony Mitchell, but Mitchell eventually found Jalalon, who faked a corner triple and dribbled closer for the deep two that rattled in, sending them and their fans to frenzy.

Mitchell bucked foul trouble and finished with 23 points, 15 in the fourth, while Jalalon added 16 for Star, which moved up to 3-0.

Wayne Chism 33-point, 19-rebound, and five-assist showcase went for naught as NLEX remained winless.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno