New reinforcement Ricardo Ratliffe completed just his 2nd game in the PBA, but Star veteran forward Marc Pingris felt the long-time Korean Basketball League mainstay is the right import for the Hotshots.
Limited to just 7 minutes during the 1st half due to foul trouble, Ratliffe returned with much aplomb in the 2nd half, engineering the Hotshots’ whirlwind 2nd offensive and solid defensive effort to smash the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 91-75 on Saturday.
“Gusto ko sa kanya, offense or defense tumatakbo siya, kasi sa offense, tumatakbo siya at nagsi-seal agad,” Pingris told FOX Sports after the game.
“Makikita mo talaga nilalabanan niya yung frustration niya sa first half dahil sa fouls.”
The 6-5 Pingris, a 7-time PBA All-Defensive team member, said he had to remind Ratliffe to keep his head in the game despite the fact that the Hotshots were whistled 27 fouls overall in the game.
“Eh ganyan ang PBA kaya kinakausap lang namin si Ricardo ni Rafi (Reavis) at James (Yap). Sabi nga namin, balik ka lang mamaya,” recalled Pingris, who, himself was slapped with a technical foul in the game.
“Pero siguro ito yung import na fit sa amin.”
The 27-year-old Ratliffe came in to replace former Best Import Denzel Bowles, who had to leave last week to attend the funeral of a family member.
Ratliffe, the 2014 WIlliam Jones Cup MVP, debuted on Sunday with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists to lead Star to a 96-88 win over defending champion Tropang TNT.
The Hotshots improved to 9th spot at 3-4, registering their 1st back-to-back wins under rookie coach Jason Webb this season.
On the other hand, the Fuel Masters dropped at the bottom of the standings with their 2-5 record. – By Richard Dy
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