Ricardo Rattliffe provided the much-needed inside presence as Star rolled past Meralco, 108-90 to enhance its chances for one of the top 2 spots in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
- Lock down: True to head coach Chito Victolero’s words, the Hotshots unleashed a menacing defense in the final canto as it held the Bolts scoreless in over 7 minutes while dropping a 11-0 bomb to break the game wide open.
- Upsurge: Riding a four-game winning streak, Star now has a strong chance to clinch a twice-to-beat bonus heading to the quarterfinals. They face a free-falling Alaska side next Wednesday.
- Vindication: High-scoring import Ricardo Ratfliffe continued to dazzle for Star as he exploded for 32 points in 17 shots while adding 13 rebounds, 2 steals and the same number of block shots.
- Power failure: Coming off a long lay-off, Meralco came out cold to drop at solo second with a 7-3 record.
- Offnight: A dominant force in the paint in their first 9 games, Meralco hulking import Alex Stepheson was also shut down as he recorded conference-low numbers of 9 points and 9 rebounds. Sophomore guard Chris Newsome topscored for Meralco with 25 markers.
- Quote of the match: “We don’t want to be frustrated so pinag-usapan talaga namin yung mga defensive stops. Napigilan rin namin si Stepheson sa activity niya inside the paint.” – Star head coach Chito Victolero