PBA Governors' Cup

Pitted against top teams early, Magnolia scrambling to avoid 0-3 start

Delfin Dioquino
Pitted against top teams early, Magnolia scrambling to avoid 0-3 start

ROUGH START. Paul Lee and Magnolia stay winless in the PBA Governors' Cup after falling short of their comeback against TNT.

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After narrow losses to top squads Converge and TNT, Magnolia does not get any reprieve as it faces unbeaten San Miguel next

RIZAL, Philippines – Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero hopes the Hotshots develop a sense of urgency as they try to avoid an inauspicious 0-3 start in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

Magnolia stayed winless in the season-ending tournament after falling short of its comeback in a 93-85 loss to TNT on Friday, February 3.

“We feel like we have to explain to them that it is a short conference,” said Victolero in Filipino. “We need to be mentally tougher.”

“In our last two games, we were lacking on the mental aspect. Maybe because of exhaustion. But that is not an excuse. We have to play 48 minutes.”

The Hotshots going 0-2 proved to be a surprise considering they have been a constant title contender, reaching the semifinals in all of the last four conferences.

But it just happened that Magnolia got pitted against the top teams early as it lost by a single possession in its conference opener against league-leading Converge, which has won all of its first four games.

The Tropang Giga are also up there with a 3-1 record.

“It is hard. The schedule is very hard. But we have to dig deep, have that mental toughness. Preparation is very important,” Victolero said.

The Hotshots, though, are not given any reprieve as they tangle with another powerhouse team in San Miguel next on Sunday, February 5, at the Araneta Coliseum.

Running roughshod over the competition, the Beermen have won all their first three games by an average of 20 points.

“Like they said, the harder it is, the more gratifying it becomes. But we need to have that sense of urgency because we cannot afford to go 0-3,” Victolero said.

With a short turnaround, the first order of business for Victolero is to get import Eric McCree on the same page for their marquee clash against San Miguel.

McCree impressed against the FiberXers with a double-double of 38 points and 16 rebounds, but he scored just 12 points and coughed up 8 turnovers against TNT, although he also delivered 16 rebounds and 3 blocks.

“He needs to get aggressive on both ends of the floor. He had 16 rebounds, but he had 8 turnovers. We just need to talk to him, communicate with him what he needs to adjust and what we want more from him,” Victolero said.

“Right now, we need him. We need him badly.” – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.