Peaking at the right time
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero made use of all of his 15 men, shuffled them at a frenetic pace and didn’t play anyone longer than 26 minutes in an authoritative 109-83 dismantling of hapless Columbian Dyip for the Hotshots’ first winning streak in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Not that he didn’t see Columbian as a foe that could beat them on Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum, but Victolero was already preparing his Hotshots for a truly tough grind in the coming week that will more or less spell where they will end up in the playoffs.
“I’ll start thinking of [Barangay] Ginebra now,” Victolero said after his team rose to 3-4. “It will be a tough stretch for us as we play three games in [the next] week. Our next games will be very important.”
Magnolia clashes with Ginebra on Sunday before playing NorthPort on Wednesday and Blackwater two days after.
“It is after that stretch where we will see where we will end up [in the rankings for the playoffs],” he added as he expressed satisfaction at the way his charges are peaking.
“We’re getting there,” Victolero replied when asked if he feels that his Hotshots’ game could be considered at par with the way Ginebra, which is at 4-3, is playing. “Our run to the playoffs is getting better, we are getting our rhythm.”
Ian Sangalang scored 16 points, Mark Barroca added 14 and Rome dela Rosa and Aldrech Ramos combined for another 22 with only two men failing to score for the Hotshots.
The loss was the sixth in 10 games for the Dyip, whose aspirations for a franchise-first playoff appearance took a huge hit.
Magnolia, last season’s Governors’ Cup champion, erected double-digit leads early and was 17 points up after the first two minutes of the second quarter as the Hotshots never looked back even with their shock troopers playing a huge chunk of the fourth quarter.
Rashawn McCarthy led the Dyip with 19 points and rookie CJ Perez backed him up with 14. Jackson Corpuz scored 12 and completed a double-double with a night-high 11 rebounds.
In Wednesday’s nightcap, NLEX survived the ejection of coach Yeng Guiao and kept its own playoff bid afloat with a 91-70 rout of Alaska.
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