Ricardo Ratliffe made a triumphant return for Star, scoring 37 points and 22 rebounds as the Hotshots overcame a sluggish start to defeat TNT KaTropa, 107-97, in the OPPO PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The comebacking Ratliffe, who replaced Tony Mitchell as Star’s reinforcement, also had three blocks to lift Star (7-2) to its third straight win and a share of third place with Meralco.
Paul Lee added 17 points, five boards and five dimes as Aldrech Ramos contributed 11 points, three rebounds and four assists for Star.
Mark Barroca also chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.
Star stared at a 35-19 deficit in the first quarter after a fiery start by TNT. But the Hotshots clawed back in the second quarter where they outscored KaTropa, 38-24, en route to a 60-59 halftime lead.
The Hotshots, behind Ratliffe and Lee, went on to control the third quarter where they led by 10 points, 77-67, as TNT was crippled by the foul trouble of import Donte Greene.
TNT was able to pull to within just three, 100-97, after scoring six unanswered points with 3:15 left. But Lee countered that with a booming triple from way beyond the rainbow arc.
Ratliffe then scored back-to-back dagger baskets to seal the win for Star.
Greene led the way for TNT (6-3) with 29 points and 12 boards.