Star coach Jason Webb couldn’t hide his displeasure on the Hotshots’ second-half effort following their shock 87-85 loss to Mahindra in their practice game on Tuesday at the Ronac gym in San Juan.
Webb felt defensively, they will have to be more consistent if they intend to come out smoking in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup where they will play three games in 10 days.
“Defensively, we limited Mahindra to 35 points in the first half but then I think we gave up 52 in the second half,” Webb told FOX Sports after the game.
“I think we lost our concentration after leading by 10 in the third quarter. And then Mahindra played great defense from there,” he added.
The loss was just the first for the Hotshots, who have beaten Meralco, Phoenix (formerly Barako Bull) and NLEX the past two weeks.
On the other hand, Mahindra won its second straight in a tune-up match after beating Barangay Ginebra last weekend, 91-79, at Green Meadows.
Webb said given the tight schedule to start the mid-season conference, they would want to see returning import Denzel Bowles regain his sharp form since arriving a week ago from the U.S.
“We just need to get Denzel into the flow of things, while I also want to see the guys have more fire in every possession,” explained the former TV broadcaster-turned-coach.
Star missed the services of big men led by Rafi Reavis (upset stomach), Yousef Taha (calf) and Marc Pingris (knee) while wingman James Yap played just 12 minutes against Mahindra after resting his knee the past few games.
“We haven’t been complete in practice, but hopefully, the other guys will be available in a week’s time,” he said.
The Hotshots kick off their Commissioner’s Cup campaign on opening day (February 10) against the Bolts at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, followed by Rain or Shine three days later at Philsports Arena.
Star then faces NLEX on February 20.
By Richard Dy