BAILED OUT. Star's Aldrech Ramos lets a three-pointer fly to the bottom of the net to draw first blood in their semifinal series against SMB.
By Patrick Sutare
QUEZON CITY--Star survived a near complete meltdown down the stretch to stun San Miguel, 109-105, on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and take Game One of their PBA Commissioner's Cup Semifinal series.
Aldrech Ramos knocked down a last gasp triple from straight away with 15 seconds to go to give the Hotshots a two-possession lead, 108-104, bailing them out from blowing a 14-point cushion with about two minutes left as the team pulled off a huge defensive stop in the ensuing play to secure the win.
The third-seed Hotshots knew a comeback trail was about to occur, being aware that no lead is safe for a team having the caliber that SMB has.
Despite recognizing the Beermen's ability to throw flurry of buckets in a matter of seconds, the Hotshots still failed the ward off the former's assault as Marcio Lassiter found his stroke late in the payoff period to notch all of his 12-point total of the game - all of which came from the three point lant- in the said canto and pilot the SMB's salvo.
The sharp-shooting guard capped a 12-0 crucial blitz via transition trey off a Chris Ross dish with less than a minute remaining to cut Star's lead to a hairline, 105-104, before Ramos drilled the game-saving triple for the Hotshots.
The win extends Star's scorching streak to eight while staying undefeated since the arrival of import Ricardo Ratliffe at 5-0.
It was just another day in the office for the premier reinforcement as he posted yet another 20-20 performance to lead the Hotshots' charge, hoisting 26 points and 21 rebounds. Allein Maliksi caught fire as well with 26 points while drilling five-of-six from beyond the arc.
Charles Rhodes paced the Beermen with 34 points, 10 boards, three dimes and three steals while Junemar Fajardo added 24 points and nine caroms.
Star shoots to take a commanding 2-0 lead on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena and move on cusp of a Finals return.
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