Going for the kill
Paul Lee knows that Magnolia has something going with a 2-0 lead over Alaska in their PBA Governors’ Cup title series.
But the prolific guard swears that he feels like he and his Hotshots feel like they’re holding on to nothing.
“The series is so balanced, so matched, that you don’t feel comfortable even with the lead that we have,” Lee told the Inquirer in Filipino while on the way to his car Friday night, an hour or so after the Hotshots pulled out a 77-71 Game 2 win at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“You just feel that [no lead] is safe against that team,” he said in respect of the Aces, who will, for all intents and purposes, be playing for their season Sunday when Game 3 tips off at 6:30 p.m. Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Coach Chito Victolero wants his charges to continue treating each game as a do-or-die contest, with confidence not something one can feel in the way he talks.
“We have to come out with the same mindset that we have had all season long, and that is treating each game as a do-or-die,” Victolero, who is within two victories of a first coaching title, said. “We have no reason to celebrate. The target is to get to four wins.”
Lee said that the locals have so far been the key in the series, and that each of them would have to chip in their share if they want to continue silencing the Aces.
“The imports have practically canceled each other out,” Lee, a leading candidate to win a first Best Player of the Conference award, said.
Of course, defense has been a major factor, with the Hotshots being a tad better at it, especially in the scrambling Game 2 win where they held the Aces scoreless inside the final 4:45.
Alaska’s Alex Compton, for his part, expressed satisfaction at how his Aces came out for Game 2, and declared that this thing is far from being over.
“I tell you, we will come out and we will battle and battle,” he said. “And they (his Aces) better be ready (to do so).”
Alaska is in a 0-2 hole mainly because of turnovers.
The Aces are averaging 25.5 blunders a contest, that not even a feistier stand in Game 2 could save them from trailing big early in the best-of-seven series.
“I loved seeing how my guys battled [in Game 2],” Compton said.
“But had we taken better care of the ball, this could be a different story,” Compton added after 26 Game 2 turnovers told the story.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.