ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – The Ynares Center here is starting to feel like Magnolia's homecourt.
Playing on the same court where it clinched important victories in the past, Magnolia rediscovered its winning groove as it gave Alaska a 103-86 beating in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday, March 9.
The Hotshots improved to 2-4 and remained in good standing in their hunt for a quarterfinals berth.
"I think Ynares was very good to us. Medyo lucky kami dito sa gym na ito," Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero told reporters.
(I think Ynares was very good to us. We're slightly lucky in this gym.)
The Ynares Center was witness to Magnolia beating Barangay Ginebra in 6 games to reach the 2018 Governors' Cup finals.
It is also at the decades-old arena where Magnolia finished off Alaska to win the 2018 Governors' Cup championship and a four-year title drought.
"Every time we need a win, dinadala kami dito and 'yun, siguro lucky charm namin itong Ynares."
(Every time we need a win, we always play here and I guess Ynares is a lucky charm to us.)
"Kausapin ko nga si commissioner (Willie Marcial). Palitan na lahat ng game dito. It's all about the mind lang siguro," Victolero joked.
(I will talk to the commissioner and tell him that all of our games should be held here. It's all in the mind I guess.)
Kidding aside, Victolero believes the Hotshots have already activated their playoff mentality as they look to pile up wins to rise through the ranks.
"'Yung tiwala ko naman sa mga players ko every time na ganito 'yung sitwasyon, they will step up and lock in doon sa mga ginagawa namin. I think 'yung character ng team, 'yung chemistry, nandiyan na," he said.
(I trust my players that every time we're in this kind of situation, they will step up and lock in on the things we do. I think the team's character and chemistry is already there.) – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.