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Stars Reborn: Rising Up To The Challenge

The Star Hotshots, better known as the Purefoods Star Hotshots, is a proud organization that is backed by a rich winning tradition in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Purefoods, almost always, has been associated with the tender juicy hotdogs product that’s ever popular to kids. That popularity soon spilled-over to Asia’s first basketball association. 

When they came into the league in 1998, the Purefoods franchise was destined to become one of the fast rising teams in the PBA. Choosing among basketball’s future Philippine stars in the era, Purefoods was loaded with talent, charisma and good looks which is enough to catapult the team into stardom (a close second to the most popular team in the PBA that is Ginebra San Miguel). Co-holders of the 4-time MVP award Alvin Patrimonio and Ramon Fernandez bannered a team coached by the legendary Baby Dalupan, and willed the franchise into a series of championships. 

The passing of the torch seemed inevitable with the retirement of Patrimonio and company. That led into the James Yap and KerbyRaymundo era, together with the current crop of players under the famed American coach Tim Cone, accomplished a rare grandslamenroute to a 4-peat championship. Thus Purefoods’ total performance was raised to 13 championships and 27 finals appearances. 

But we all know that the world of basketball is full of surprises; probably none bigger that the trade between Purefoods Hotshots’ James Yap and Rain or Shine’s franchise player Paul Lee. However, this blockbuster trade will soon to be yesterday’s news as the Hotshot’s former substitute  player, Allein Maliksi, took up the cudgels and stepped-out of the shadows of the former 2-time MVP James Yap.

Maliksi has regained the touch of his deadly shooting form and blossomed under the system of new Star Hotshots’ coach ChitoVictolero. The former PBA D-League Best Player has been averaging a remarkable 25.5 points and 5 rebounds for their past games; enough for him to earn the nod as Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week. He beat the likes of 3-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo, GlobalPort’s scoring champion Terrence Romeo, and the resurgent former-Star teammate Alex Mallari of Mahindra.

The good news doesn’t stop there though. Allein Maliksi’s perseverance and grim determination soon spread like wild fire with the rest of the team. The Hotshots’ gunners frolicked all around the court with the likes of Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon, Aldrech Ramos, Justin Melton, Mark Barroca, and Peter June Simon. Not to be outworked in the shaded lane include the heart of Star Marc Pingris, former PBA D-League and NCAA MVP Ian Sangalang, RaffyReavis, and new acquisitions Rodney Brondial and Rome Dela Rosa.So good were the Star Hotshots in their last game with the 47-point annihilation of the Meralco Bolts at 120-73, even the other rookies like Mon Abundo and Samboy de Leon kept the scoring hot until the final buzzer. 

Good news indeed for the Purefoods Star Hotshots fans!  All the hard work paid-off as the resurgence of the whole team is undeniable. So, is it the transfer of James Yap to Rain or Shine that triggered the change? Or perhaps the appointment of former Kia assistant coach ChitoVictolero to man the helm? We will let the millions of basketball fans decide. But one thing is for sure, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Purefoods Star Hotshots are once again knocking on the door to the Promise Land.

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