Magnolia hopes to get back to winning ways after blowout loss to Ginebra
MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia’s hot streak is finally over and what took its place are a couple of stinging losses in the late stages of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Hotshots went on a five-game winning streak in the middle part of the conference but that string of victories eventually ended when they lost to Blackwater, 104-99, on Friday.
Retribution, however, didn’t come Magnolia’s way in the second Manila Clasico of the season when it lost badly to Barangay Ginebra, 102-81, Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia, which went 0-2 in its first two games, is still in the playoff picture with a 5-4 record for the fifth seed, but the two straight losses were still crucial to say the least.
“It’s kind of hard for us because we were coming off a five-game winning streak and then we lose two straight,” said head coach Chito Victolero.
“I don’t want to make an excuse because our opponents played really well, maybe they were just better prepared than us,” added Victolero in Filipino.
The Hotshots started off strong, taking a 10-0 lead less than three minutes into the first quarter after Mark Barroca’s jumper, but the Gin Kings made a push and Magnolia headed into the break leading by just one, 47-46.
Ginebra, however, lit up in the third outscoring Magnolia 32-17 in the period to take a 78-64 lead in the heading into the fourth.
Point guard Mark Barroca tried to will the Hotshots back into the game scoring eight in the third but the Gin Kings’ onslaught already left Magnolia in shambles.
“These are heavy losses but we just remind ourselves that we have to win at least one first because it’d be difficult for us if we lose on Wednesday,” said Barroca in Filipino after he finished with 16 points and five assists.
The Hotshots hope to get back on track against Rain or Shine wherein a victory would help them keep the fifth spot in the standings and prevent them from falling to either the seventh or eighth spot and be in a twice-to-win disadvantage in the quarterfinals.
“Our goal is to get to the top six, and we’ll see from there who we’ll face in the playoffs,” said Barroca.
Victolero added that it’s imperative for them to win against the Elasto Painters as a loss would give them five losses and they would then rely on Phoenix, Alaska, or San Miguel to lose its matches.
Phoenix (4-5) and Alaska (4-6) hold the seventh and eighth seeds while San Miguel (3-5) are in the ninth spot. All three are still vying for playoff spots.eqSA
“It’s my job to motivate and push the players, and we have a chance again on Wednesday,” said Victolero. “We will try our best and I told them that we need to prepare hard and bounce back because this is our chance again to go to the quarterfinals.”