Chito: Wala pa ito

December 08, 2018

Hotshots eye 3-0 lead against struggling Aces.

POSTING a 2-0 lead in a long series could mean a lot, but it could also make one team to be too overconfident.

That’s exactly what Magnolia coach Chito Victolero wants his Hotshots to avoid, or they lose their focus.

“Wala pa ito,” said Victolero in a telephone conversation with People’s Journal yesterday before proceeding to the team’s light workout at Ronac Gym in Ortigas.

“We need to win four games. Lamang lang kami, pero hindi dito nagtatapos,” added Victolero as he cautioned his Hotshots on tougher times ahead.

The Hotshots, playing in the finals for 29th time, are enjoying a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 finals series with Alaska for the PBA Governors’ Cup.

The Hotshots turned back the Aces in Game 2, 77-71, but not after struggling for three full quarters and giving their all in the fourth.

The Hotshots started flat, their aggressiveness distressingly lacking, and their defense seemingly not working well.

It is a situation that Victolero said he does not want to happen again as they play the Aces in Game 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The game is crucial for the Hotshots who could make one giant leapt toward their 14th title if they beat the Aces anew.

But, as they say, there are things that are easier said than done.

“Our mindset is we treat every game as a do-or-die,” said Victolero. “Hindi namin iniisip kaagad yung championship. Kung ano lang muna yung kailangan. Best-of-seven ito.”

There simply is no room for overconfidence, Victolero stressed.

“Kailangan naman lagi maging consistent sa effort nammin, at sa aggressiveness na binibigay naming kasi nitong Game 2 ay talo kami sa aggressiveness ‘nung first half,” he said.

“‘Yun yung kailangan naming i-adjust, how we start the game. Hindi naman pwede na sa second half ka maglalaro ng husto. Kailangan from start to finish ‘yung consistency mo,” added Victolero.

Romeo Travis spewed steady fires as he tallied 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists, but it was Jio Jalalon who struck for the big plays by scoring five of his seven points in the last three minutes to steer the Hotshots out of harm’s way in an intense battle down the stretch.

Despite trailing in the series, Alaska coach Alex Compton remains optimistic the Aces could still turn things around, and that his team is far from finished.

However, Compton said his Aces need to minimize their errors if they are to bounce back.

Alaska committed 25 errors in Game 1 and turned the ball over 26 times in Friday’s loss to the Hotshots, for a total of 51 miscues in two games.

“That’s the prime story of the first two games of the series,” said Compton. “That game was what I expected Game 1 to be like, and expected the series to be.”

“But if we turn the ball over 26 times, that’s just huge. I just think that we better take care of the basketball,” added Compton, whose Aces are gunning for their 15th title.