Up 2-0, Magnolia still wary of Meralco with or without Almazan in Game 3
MANILA, Philippines — Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said his team will have the same approach heading into Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals against Meralco despite their 2-0 lead.
The Bolts could be without their captain Raymond Almazan for Game 3 after the star center suffered an ankle injury.
“Hopefully, he’ll be able to recover,” Victolero said after the Hotshots’ 92-78 win in Game 2 on Wednesday.
“Of course, it’s a big factor because it’s a break for us. But we’re not just focused on that. We know that anyone at Meralco is capable of stepping up,” he added.
Almazan had to be carried off the court by his teammates after hurting his left ankle during a rebound battle with Magolia’s Ian Sangalang at the eight-minute mark of the third quarter.
The 6-foot-8 beanpole did not return. He finished with six points and three rebounds in only 17 minutes of action.
The Bolts also lost energetic forward Cliff Hodge, who was ejected after a disqualifying foul against Calvin Abueva just seven minutes after Almazan left the game.
“It’s good for them if they have Raymond or Hodge but if they’re not there we still can’t be complacent as long as we’re up against five players on the court. We will try to push hard from start to finish,” Victolero said.