Thanks to some big shots from Paul Lee, the Purefoods Star Hotshots fought off the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 78-74, to capture Game 1 of the Philippine Cup best-of-7 semifinals, Thursday evening at the Smart-Araneta coliseum.
After a 71-all deadlock at the 4:28 mark, Lee scored five of Star’s last seven points of the game. The explosive guard converted on a three-pointer to take the lead 74-71 with three minutes to go and a spin-move layup over several Ginebra defenders that proved to be the dagger points of what was a tight game.
Lee finished with 18 points and five rebounds while Marc Barroca chipped in 17 markers. Marc Pingris was crucial for the Star Hotshots as well with an all-around game of nine points, 12 boards, five assists, three steals and three blocks.
For Ginebra, Chris Ellis topscored with 12 points while Japeth Aguilar finished with 11 markers and six boards. Sol Mercado chipped in 10 points while LA Tenorio was held to only eight points to go along with four rebounds and six assists.
Game 2 of the Manila Classico semifinals will be on Feb. 11, Saturday 5 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena.