Hotshots seek title

December 18, 2018

EXACTLY a week before Christmas, Magnolia Pambansang Manok is looking to  get the best gift it could get this time of the year – the PBA Governors’ Cup title.

Alaska Milk, however,  is hoping to play the Grinch who will steal Christmas from Magnolia.

Up 3-2 in the scheduled best-if-seven title series,  the Hotshots will try  to finish off the Aces  when they collide in what could be another exciting Game 6 today at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

A win by the Hotshots will give  them  the coveted   title in this season-ending, import-flavored conference.today.

“Ito  na siguro ang pinaka-magandang  regalong pwede namin ibigay sa sarili namin ngayong magpa-Pasko,” said Magnolia  coach Chito Victolero.

Victolero said the opportunity to  beat the Aces again and finally nail the  elusive title will be foremost in their  minds today.

“The opportunity is there. So,  susubukan na naming tapusin ito ang  makuha ang korona,” added Victolero, who also stands to achieve a milestone in his coaching career in the pro league.

Another   win  by the Hotshots   over the Aces today will enable them to end a long four-year title drought, or  since winning Grand Slam in 2014 under coach Tim Cone.

At the same time, the Hotshots will join  the Aces as the second  winningest   teams in  Asia’s first play forpay league  with 14 titles , behind  only  the 25 of San Miguel Beer.

For Victolero,  it will only be his first taste of championship in his coaching stint with the Hotshots spanning two years already, or since replacing Jason Webb in October 2016.

With  the series tied at 2-2 after four highly-physical games, the Hotshots  took  control  by beating the Aces, 79-78,  in Game 5  at the Arenata Coliseum. last Friday.

The  game provided plenty of highlight plays, especially in a crucial stretch of the game.

And fittingly, Paul Lee --  the “Best Player of  the Conference --  made the biggest play as he grabbed the loose ball and delivered the  game- winner that helped the Hotshots  escape with the heart-stopping victory.

Will it be a merry Chirstmas for the  Hotshots?.

“Game Seven? We’ll certainly try to do it,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.

The Aces  can surely do it.

They  lost the first two games but  came back strong in the next two outings and came close to another win before Lee came to the Hotshots’ rescue.

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-five series for Commissioner’s Cup in 2013.

Both  teams received a much-needed break when the best-of-seven  finals took a four-day breather to give way to the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft  at Robinsons Place Manila last Sunday.