The Star Hotshots launched a blistering late run to spoil Rain or Shine’s comeback efforts, 99-93, in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at Batangas City Coliseum.
After Rain or Shine (4-4) climbed from 14 points down to tie the game at 90-all, Star (6-2) in the dying minutes scored seven unanswered points capped off by Tony Mitchell whose monster dunk literally destroyed the rim.
THE BACKBOARD JUST COLLAPSED. Power dunk from Mitchell!!! pic.twitter.com/l5TZvMmHIL
— Sports5 (@Sports5PH) May 6, 2017
Mitchell made 21 points, 18 boards and three blocks while Paul Lee scored 23 markers, four rebounds and five dimes against his former team.
The Hotshots had led by 14 points in the first half after a 12-1 run early in the second quarter that handed them a 35-21 lead.
Star was able to maintain control of the game, repeatedly thwarting comeback attempts by Rain or Shine.
But the Elasto Painters finally broke through in the final frame, pulling to within just three points, 84-81 after Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood conspired in an 8-0 run.
Chan’s free throws with 2:55 remaining finally allowed Rain or Shine to tie the game at 90-all.
But Star countered with its game-clinching run. Lee first converted a tough jumper off a drive. Rafi Reavis then scored a putback.
Mitchell put the exclamation point with a thunderous slam so powerful that the pole supporting the backboard and ring collapsed.
Officials were able to fix it immediately, and Mitchell sank the bonus free throw to push Star’s lead to seven with 1:44 left which was enough to keep Rain or Shine at bay.
Chan and Shawn Taggart each chipped in 20 points for Rain or Shine in the loss.