Now or never
There was no shortage of answers from head coach Chito Victolero when asked how Magnolia let a golden opportunity slip out of its hands.
“They (Rain or Shine) outworked us. They were more aggressive than us. They wanted [the win] more than us,” the Hotshots mentor told reporters on his way out of a 91-81 loss to the Elasto Painters in Game 6 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal clash at Ynares Center in Antipolo City late Friday night.
“Good thing, there’s still a Game 7,” he added.
And Magnolia hopes to finish what it failed to do when it clashes anew with Rain or Shine on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Game time is 6:30 p.m.
The Hotshots squandered an opportunity to bundle out the Elasto Painters and missed a chance at affording themselves ample preparation time for another trip to the conference finals where a familiar foe awaits them.
Victolero and the Hotshot also absorbed their first loss that night at Ynares Center—the very arena where they have been undefeated in nearly two years, and the place where they were crowned Governor’s Cup champions last season.
But Magnolia has no time to wade through trivia and back stories. The prize for Saturday night’s winner is a shot a dethroning reigning four-time all-Filipino champions San Miguel Beer.
“There will be little adjustments for the two teams come game time. It will just boil down [to] who wants it more,” Victolero said.
Desire, yes. But Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said Magnolia will come in with a little edge.
“Perhaps the difference now is Magnolia, in this situation, probably has the upper hand in experience,” he said.
But Garcia hopes to use the same ploy he did in Game 6.
“During practice, we did not even do viewing. I just told the players to enjoy the game and to keep it simple. And it worked,” he said.
“So coming into Game 7, I think we just have to do the same thing,” Garcia added. “I told them that we just have to trust each other and just see what happens.”