MANILA, Philippines – All signs pointed to Magnolia beating Blackwater in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
After all, the Hotshots had won nine of their first 10 games to claim the No. 1 spot in the league, while the Bossing had not tasted a victory for over a year, with their historic skid stretching to 29 straight matches.
To some extent, a lopsided Blackwater loss would not have been surprising considering Magnolia clobbered Alaska by 27 points in its previous game.
Yet somehow, head coach Ariel Vanguardia believed the Bossing would clinch their first win at the Hotshots’ expense.
“I told one of my assistant coaches, ‘I feel like we would win today because I dreamed that I went to the press room.’ I told him that,” Vanguardia said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Going into the press room is customary for winning PBA coaches, and in the case of Vanguardia, he had not held a postgame press conference since he took over as Blackwater head coach.
As if his dream was a prophecy, Vanguardia witnessed Blackwater hack out a 101-100 win over Magnolia on Wednesday, March 9, to avoid the dubious distinction as the first team to go winless in a PBA season.
Down 99-100 with 10 seconds left, the Bossing banked on their young guns as sophomore big man Barkley Eboña sank the go-ahead layup and rookie guard Rey Suerte pulled off the win-sealing block.
“There were games that we could have won that could have turned the season for us. The first game, we were up 12, and the first game of this year, we were up 14,” Vanguardia said. “We were not able to handle those kinds of situations.”
“Now, the monkey is off our back.”
Vanguardia dedicated the win to Blackwater owner Dioceldy Sy for his unwavering support to the team despite its infamous PBA record, even watching the Magnolia game live at the Araneta Coliseum.
The victory was also a belated gift for Sy, who turned 64 last March 6.
“Our salaries were never late, our allowances were never late, and their support is always there. We know we’re not the highest-budget team, but you got to appreciate their support in our rebuilding,” Vanguardia said.
“We saw the commitment of the owners and management. We hope to repay them with more wins. This is the chance of the team, the franchise.” – Rappler.com