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PBA: Hotshots keep bonus bid alive

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
3 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Blackwater
5:15 p.m. – Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa

Marc Pingris joined the exclusive 5,000-point club in style with a breakaway dunk in garbage time and the Star Hotshots stayed in the chase for the twice-to-beat advantage by cruising past Kia, 128-81, last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Pingris became the 86th player in league history to reach the mark when he completed a one-handed slam off an outlet pass with 7.7 seconds remaining, turning a lopsided affair into a historic night for one of the PBA’s most hardworking players.

Pingris, who started his PBA career with as a long-haired athletic center of FedEx in 2004, finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes in another significant step in his bid to return to full form following a hip surgery.

“Ok na si Ping, nagdu-dunk na nga e,” said Star coach Chito Victolero of Pingris, who missed the whole Commissioner’s Cup and the early portion of the season-ending conference to recover from his injury.

Icelandic import Kristofer Acox had 19 points and 15 rebounds in his second game since replacing Malcolm Hill while rookie guard Jio Jalalon had 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Hotshots, who tied the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for sixth place at 6-4.

Star needs to beat NLEX in a big battle tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and hope that it gains a favorable quotient to secure the twice-to-beat bonus given to the top four teams after the eliminations.

NLEX is in a three-way tie for third with San Miguel and TNT KaTropa at 7-3, one game behind solo leader Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (8-2) and half-game off second-running Meralco (7-2).

Meralco was playing GlobalPort, forced to play all-Filipino after Jamal Thomas failed to pass the height limit, at press time.

First Game
STAR 128 – Acox 19, Jalalon 15, Simon 13, Pingris 12, Sangalang 12, Barroca 10, Melton 10, Ramos 7, Reavis 7, De la Rosa 5, Mendoza 5, Lee 4, Abundo 3, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 2, Pascual 2.

KIA 81 – Johnson 27, Elorde 15, Corpuz 11, Camson 10, Celda 9, Yee 4, Deutchman 3, Nimes 2, Paniamogan 0, Ballesteros 0.
Quarters: 32-24; 65-36; 91-60; 128-81.

Second Game
MERALCO 100 – Newsome 28, Durham 22, Hugnatan 13, Hodge 10, Amer 9, De Ocampo 6, Tolomia 4, Lanete 3, Dillinger 3, Sedurifa 2, Caram 0, Nabong 0, Faundo 0.

GLOBALPORT 93 – Anthony 23, Grey 16, Pringle 14, Guinto 14, Cardona 11, Baracael 5, Cortez 4, Mamaril 4, Arana 2, Hubalde 0, Celiz 0, Paredes 0.

Quarters: 25-20, 51-42, 83-64, 100-93.