Push comes to shove
Magnolia vows to push harder while Alaska needs to just push if it wants to contend with the Hotshots in the PBA Governors’ Cup title series at all.
After pummeling the Aces for a 100-84 Game 1 victory, coach Chito Victolero declared that they will keep the pedal to the metal for the 7 p.m. second game slated at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao on Friday night.
And Alaska’s Alex Compton? He was wondering why his Aces couldn’t keep up with the Hotshots in the series opener.
“We looked very rusty, but what about them?” Compton asked when he faced the media after the defeat. “They (Hotshots) played great. I expected us to play at that level and make it a tight game.
“I think we might have had a season-high in turnovers. We missed free throws and missed a bunch of threes,” Compton said in disappointment. “I know those (things) could happen, but it can’t be that the other team seems to be quicker to the ball. It’s just really frustrating.”
The Hotshots scored the first 15 points of Game 1 and never looked back, making this series—labeled as very much even—seem so one-sided.
“We’re playing a team that’s playing the best basketball in the league right now,” said Compton, who has been 0-4 in championship duels as a coach.
Alaska was also whistled for a lot of fouls early and the Hotshots capitalized by making all but three of 15 free throws that they got for the night. And what frustrated Compton was the Aces’ 19-for-32 clip from the stripe which could have made it a closer game if Alaska shot better.
“We need to continue treating every game as a do-or-die,” Victolero, who is seeking to win his first title as a coach in just his second Finals appearance, said. “There’s still a long way to go.”
Mike Harris was a shell of his dominant self on Wednesday, shooting just 20 points as Victolero threw a defensive gauntlet on the leading Best Import candidate.
Magnolia is seeking to win a first championship since its Grand Slam season in 2014, while Alaska hasn’t won since the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup under Luigi Trillo.
“We can’t afford to start out flat again (in Game 2),” said forward Vic Manuel in Filipino.
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