CURRENTLY struggling teams Star Hotshots and GlobalPort Batang Pier try to wiggle out of their funk when they collide today at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup.
Set for 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Hotshots (4-3) and Batang Pier (3-5), both riding losing streaks that have slowed down their bid in the season-ending PBA tournament, shoot for a key win that would put them back on the winning path as the elimination round hits the homestretch.
Chito Victolero-coached Star has dropped three straight matches after starting the Governors’ Cup with four straight wins.
The slide has seen the Hotshots drop from the top of the heap all the way down to seventh and tinkering with missing the playoffs altogether if they do not get their act collectively on time.
Star’s last defeat was at the hands of the Meralco Bolts, 96-90, on Sept. 9. Prior to it, the team lost to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings.
Against the Bolts the Hotshots tried to rally back from a slow start but just could not go over the hump in the end.
Import Malcolm Hill had a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four steals for Star while rookie Jio Jalalon had a near triple-double of 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
These, however, were not enough to overtake a Meralco team which got great numbers from reinforcement Allen Durham with 29 points, 27 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and a steal, on top of four other players scoring in double digits.
“We need to gather our bearings if we are to break out from our slump. We are still in it and we just need to take care of business,” said Mr. Victolero as they head into their game against GlobalPort.
IN THE SAME BOAT
Like Star, GlobalPort has struggled of late, going down in its last two games.
The Batang Pier played well early in their game against erstwhile struggling Alaska Aces last time around but just could not sustain their good form in the payoff period to bow down, 101-88.
Import Murphy Holloway has been leading the charge for GlobalPort since coming in as a replacement, posting averages of 28.1 points, 18.3 rebounds, four assists, 2.7 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.
The loss to Alaska pushed the Batang Pier down in the standings to ninth place, out of the picture if the playoffs started today.
Meanwhile, in the first game at 4:15 p.m., the Meralco Bolts (6-2) go for solo leadership when they collide against suddenly ascending Alaska (3-6).
The Bolts are set to parade newly acquired player Ranidel de Ocampo when they hit the floor today. Mr. De Ocampo, a longtime player with the TNT KaTropa, was part of a three-team deal that also involved the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters early this week.
Alaska, for its part, continues to fight for its tournament life after starting the conference 0-6. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo