DESPITE winning the opener of their best-of-seven PBA Governors’ Cup title series, Magnolia and coach Chito Victolero know the job is far from over.
In fact, Alaska coach Alex Compton and import Mike Harris said the result of last Wednesday’s Game 1 could even serve as a wake-up call for him and his teammates.
So, today’s Game 2 of what could be a long and interesting series scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum remains anybody’s ballgame.
“We are happy to win Game 1, but this is only the start,” said Victolero right after the Hotshots’ convincing 100-84 win over the Aces at the Mal of Asia Arena last Wednesday.
“Our mindset remains do-or-die. After our win tonight, we need to prepare even harder,” Victolero told sportswriters.
“There’s a long way to go. Hindi kami dapat mag-relax,” said Victolero.
“Kailangan naming mag push pa because it’s a best-of-seven series. Isa pa lang ang nakukuha namin,” added Victolero, referring to the Hotshots victory which came after a long 18-day break by the league to give way to the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Victolero now hopes to continue to get big numbers from import Romeo Travis, who came away with 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
The Hotshots also hope to get the same impressive numbers from Mark Barroca (16 points), Paul Lee (14 points and Jio Jalalon (seven points, 12 rebounds and nine assists) in the opener against the Aces.
If the long layoff hardly affected the Hotshots, the Aces clearly struggled to find their rhythm all night long.
“It’s a learning experience for us and it helps,” said Harris, who struggled with 20 points and 15 rebounds in his import match-up against Romeo.
“A lot of these guys haven’t been in the Finals. Good thing it’s first to four, not first to one,” added Harris. “They punched us, but the best thing about getting punched is if that you’re strong enough, you’ll get up.”
“We missed a lot of outside shots and we missed a lot of free throws. And the last series (against Meralco) we didn’t miss a lot of free throws,” explained Harris, referring to the Aces’ dismal 19-of-32 shooting from the free throw line.
“Had we made a few more free throws, it could have been a different game.”