Victolero confident Hotshots will overcome fatigue, rough patch
MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia, always considered as one of the top teams in the league, is in a bit of a rough patch at the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The reigning Governors’ Cup winners are down 0-2 at the start of the second conference after losing to NorthPort, 102-99, Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Head coach Chito Victolero said their early struggle may be attributed to the players’ overall fatigue after figuring in three of the past four title series with the last one being the Philippine Cup finals against five-time champion San Miguel.
“You can see that our energy isn’t really there yet,” said Victolero in Filipino. “We have a problem with our one-on-one defense, with our team defense, but as everyone always says, we will get better every day.”
Although the three-point margin seems to suggest that the Hotshots and the Batang Pier figured in an intense dogfight, there was one area that Magnolia got beaten down to a pulp.
NorthPort punished Magnolia, a 14-time league champion, underneath with a 50-36 advantage in points in the paint and the Batang Pier’s bench also had a better outing than their counterparts with a 47-28 edge.
Magnolia also allowed seven Batang Pier to score at least double-digits with Garvo Lanete being the lone player from NorthPort to not break the 10-point barrier with three points.
“The important thing is we don’t get lower, because once we get to 0-3 then it’ll be harder,” said Victolero. “It’s not the time to panic but we also have to start winning.”
Magnolia’s fatigue factor, however, won’t be remedied any time soon as it will play two more games on Friday and Sunday.
The Hotshots will take on NLEX, which has a 0-5 record, on Friday and face 1-3 Columbian on Sunday.
“We’ll try again on Friday, we have a tough schedule because we play on Friday and Sunday,” said Victolero. “Hopefully the players recover.”
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