After four straight championships in the PBA, the Purefoods Star Hotshots found themselves in an unfamiliar territory last conference after failing to get past the first round of the Philippine Cup playoffs. It was a bitter end for the Star Hotshots but could also serve as a blessing in disguise for the team. Because of their early exit, they are coming into this conference fresher and hungrier more than ever as they try to defend their title as Commisioner’s Cup Champions.

The road to redemption begins with a fast-rising team in GlobalPort Batang Pier (1-0). It will be a tough first assignment for Purefoods as they’re facing a team that gives them a very tough time when they’re up against each other. Although their last two meetings resulted into wins for the Hotshots, both wins were in a come-from-behind fashion. They had to deal with the onslaught brought about by the Batang Pier’s prolific guards Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo. And in this game, they have another thing to worry about aside from those two: GlobalPort’s import CJ Leslie. In his first game in a GlobalPort uniform, Leslie tallied an impressive 33 points (12/19 shooting), 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks for the Batang Pier.

But with Marqus Blakely at the helm (at least for now before Daniel Orton arrives), Purefoods can breathe a little. In this game, Purefoods must be able to display their championship-form defense, move the ball around crisply, crash the boards as a team, and must not let GlobalPort have another hot start and build a big lead against them. Although the Hotshots will be missing the services of vastly-improved center Yousef Taha (because of that immature pre-season game “overreaction”), if they just take care of those four things, they will be alright; the Hotshots will win their first game of the conference at the expense of the Batang Pier.

#LabanPurefoods

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TIME: 7:00 PM
ARENA: CUNETA ASTRODOME

Featured Image Credit: Mark Cristino, Pinoy Exchange; Nuki Sabio, PBA; Paul Ryan Tan, Sports 5