STAR continued its rampage, steamrolling ousted Mahindra, 124-87, for its fourth straight win to put itself in a position to claim the No. 2 seed in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City last night.
Continuing to brighten his star, Allein Maliksi once again led the way for the Hotshots, exploding for a career-high 34 points.
The victory elevated the Hotshots to sole possession of the No. 2 ranking as of this report, finishing their elimination-round campaign at 7-4 through this late surge.
They still have to wait for their fate for a bit though.
The No. 2 seed and the twice-to-beat advantage along with it in the quarterfinals are up for grabs between Star and Alaska.
As of this writing, Alaska (6-4), the other team with a good shot at grabbing the No. 2 ranking aside from Star, is in a heated battle with Rain or Shine (5-5) in the last game of the eliminations.
Star is hoping that Rain or Shine takes the win against Alaska for the tides to be in its favor.
Should the Aces take the win, they will automatically claim the No. 2 ranking due to a superior quotient.
Otherwise, if Alaska ends up on the losing end, that will outright give Star the No. 2 seed and the Aces will drop to No. 3.
Star bursted out of the gates, racing to a commanding double-digit lead right away, a 20-point bubble, 33-13, after the game’s first 10 minutes and it never looked back, taking care of business the rest of the way against the Floodbuster and dominating.
Midway in the second, the scorching Hotshots were already ahead by an insurmountable 32-point distance, 58-26.
For the Elasto Painters, they are fighting for their spot in the quarters and are looking to complete the eight-team cast with a win.
Should they lose, they will still have another crack at the last ticket as they will have a playoff with waiting Blackwater.
Whoever ends up at No. 8 will have a tall order in the quarters as that team will take on San Miguel Beer with a twice-to-win disadvantage.
It will only be after these two games today that most teams who are already in the quarterfinals will know where they will stand.
Defending champion San Miguel Beer has long secured the top seed, finishing with an astounding 10-1 record as it dominated the eliminations.
Mahindra ended its campaign at 3-8, only good for a 10th-place tie with Meralco, as it is now headed to an early vacation along with the Bolts and NLEX.
STAR 124—Maliksi 33, Lee 16, Melton 11, Ramos 11, Jalalon 11, Sangalang 10, Abundo 8, Barroca 7, Brondial 6, Reavis 5, Pingris 2, Javier 2, Dela Rosa 2, De Leon 0.
MAHINDRA 87— Salva 15, Mallari 15, Yee 14, Paniamogan 9, Revilla 7, Ballesteros 6, Teng 6, Celda 5, Apinan 4, Elorde 2, Eriobu 2, Galanza 2, Nimes 0.
Quarterscores: 41-19, 68-40, 93-65, 124-87