The Star Hotshots ousted the NLEX Road Warriors, 89-77, to become the first team to reach the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Import Kristofer Acox tallied 21 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Hotshots who didn’t waste their twice-to-beat ticket in the quarterfinals.
Paul Lee added 18 points while Ian Sangalang chipped in 14 markers for the Hotshots who booked a semis seat in each of the three conferences this season.
The Hotshots trailed by as much as eight points in the third period, 61-53, after NLEX gained momentum via a 9-2 run.
But the Hotshots turned the tables on the Road Warriors, launching a 16-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to grab a 69-63 lead.
Star never looked back, pulling away late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Aaron Fuller scored 16 points and nine rebounds to pace NLEX which, despite the setback, showed vast improvement this conference after ending up as cellar dwellers in its first two tournaments under coach Yeng Guiao.
STAR 89 – Acox 21, Lee 18, Sangalang 14, Pingris 8, Jalalon 7, Simon 7, Brondial 5, Ramos 3, Reavis 2, Barroca 2, Dela Rosa 2, Melton 0.
NLEX 77 – Fuller 16, Mallari 15, Alas 14, Fonacier 9, Quinahan 6, Tiongson 5, Baguio 5, Rios 4, Al-Hussaini 3, Taulava 0, Soyud 0.
Quarters: 23-22, 45-45, 61-63, 89-77.