Star is on the verge of making history by becoming just the fourth 8th-seeded squad to knock off the top seed in a PBA quarterfinals.
Veteran shooting guard Peter June Simon knows that very well, being on the losing side of history 4 years ago.
In the 2012 Philippine Cup, Star, then known as B-Meg, entered the playoffs as the top seed under Tim Cone, who was then in his 1st conference as the coach of the Purefoods franchise.
The Llamados only needed to win once in the opening round of the playoffs to advance to the semifinals. Unfortunately, they lost 2 straight to the no. 8 seed Powerade Tigers to become just the 3rd top-seeded team in league history to get ousted after Ginebra in the 1999 All-Filipino Cup and Talk ‘N Text in 2002 Governors Cup.
“Naalala pa namin yun, kasi kami ang no. 1. Tinalo kami ng no. 8. Eh hopefully sa favor naman namin ngayon,” Simon told reporters, moments after spearheading Star’s courageous 108-99 victory over San Miguel on Monday to force a winner-take-all quarterfinal match.
The six-foot Star guard was in his element in the 3rd quarter after dropping 13 points, mocking San Miguel’s defense with driving jumpers and 3-point baskets.
The 35-year-old Simon’s gutsy plays, coupled by Allein Maliksi’s impeccable shooting and import Ricardo Ratliffe’s tireless work off the boards enabled Star to overturn a 13-point deficit en route to the win.
“Obviously, talagang binibigyan namin sa malalaki yung bola, pero kapag binibigyan din kami ng chance, magiging aggressive din kami kasi mawawala rin rhythm namin kapag puro post lang,” explained the “Scoring Apostle”.
Come Wednesday, Simon believes the Hotshots have a 50-50 chance.
“Medyo yung pressure, pantay-pantay na so sa Wednesday, bahala na,” he said. – By Richard Dy
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