Hotshots seek clincher vs Aces
(Ynares Center, Antipolo)
Game 6, best-of-7 finals
7 p.m. – Alaska vs. Magnolia
Hotshots lead series: 3-2
MAGNOLIA is hoping to receive today the best Yuletide present it could get, exactly a week before Christmas.
The Hotshots seek to finish off the Alaska Aces as they collide in a highly intense Game 6 of the PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-7 titular showdown at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
“Ito ang pinaka-magandang regalong pwede namin ibigay sa sarili namin,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
Victolero is referring to the crown which they could get if they beat anew the Aces at 7 tonight in a game that’s expected to be a lot more intense owing to the individual intentions of the protagonists.
“The opportunity is there, so susubukin namin kunin,” added Victolero, who himself stands to achieve a milestone in his coaching career in the pro league.
The Hotshots wrested the upperhand in the interesting series by beating the Aces in Game 5, 79-78, last Friday in a game rich in highlight plays, especially in the stretch, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Paul Lee, who was adjudged best player of the conference during Game 4, made the biggest play as he grabbed a loose ball and nonchalantly sank a jumper near the baseline in the dying seconds, helping the Hotshots escape with the victory and grabbing the lead at 3-2.
Another victory today for the Hotshots will enable them to end a drought spanning four years already, or since winning Grand Slam in 2014 under coach Tim Cone.
At the same time, the Hotshots will tie the Aces as the second winningest teams in the league at 14, behind San Miguel Beer that has 25 titles already.
As for Victolero, he will have his first taste of championship in his coaching stint with the Hotshots spanning two years already, or since replacing Jason Webb in October 2016.
But the sweetest of them all in the event they win today is that the Hotshots will have a truly bright Christmas.
Now, it’s up for the Hotshots to make those things happen, because they are easier said than done, more so since they are up against a team that is no pushover and has the capability to pull off surprises.
“Game Seven? We’ll certainly try to do it,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
The Aces lost the first two outings but bounced back in the next two outings, and had good account of themselves in the whole of Game 5 before Lee dashed the Aces’ hopes of turning the game around in their favor in Game 6.
The Aces have never won a title for five years already or since a team handled by Luigi Trillo swept Barangay Ginebra in the best-of-5 series for Commissioner’s Cup in 2013.
It’s been a long-dragging season with the league having more breaks than usual following the hosting of national team’s opponents in several Fiba games at home.
The finals took a four-day breather to give way to the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft and that means the Hotshots and the Aces are entering the game both rejuvenated.