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PBA: Victolero wants Magnolia to stay driven despite unbeaten start

/ 04:10 AM February 21, 2022
Chito Victolero wants  to guard his wards against complacency

Chito Victolero wants to guard his wards against complacency. —PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–Magnolia sustained its deadly form on Saturday night and picked Phoenix Super LPG with methodical precision to post a 103-83 blowout at Smart Araneta Coliseum and remain undefeated after six games in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

And Magnolia coach Chito Victolero is now trying to navigate this road with cautious optimism.

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“I think we still need to work on staying hungry and making that our proper mindset,” he told the Inquirer on the heels of the victory.

“We’ve been really careful that we don’t turn complacent,” he went on. “It’s something we’ve been through: We become comfortable and then our hunger tapers off.”

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Victolero is talking from experience, a very recent experience in fact, that one would believe that he knows what he’s talking about.

Magnolia also had a hot streak going in the 2020 Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga but still wound up as the seventh seed after finishing the eliminations with a 7-4 record.

They needed to win two straight times against Phoenix in the quarterfinals, only to be denied by a Matthew Wright triple at the buzzer in the rubber match.

Staying hungry at this stage remains as the most important thing for Victolero.

Fortunately, he has an extension on the floor who keeps reminding the rest of the Hotshots.

“Mike [Harris] has been a big help,” he said. “He always tells the other players to stay on top of things. And that’s partly because of his experience as well.”

Magnolia import Mike Harris.

FILE–Magnolia import Mike Harris. PBA IMAGES

Harris, a former Best Import awardee, last played for Alaska which played Magnolia in the championship series of the 2018 Governors’ Cup, which the Hotshots won in six games.

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So in that respect, Harris is one hungry import.

And Victolero knows that Harris—who has been averaging 29.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists for Magnolia—is deeply motivated to not fall short of his goal once again.

“You can see it. He has been very, very vocal whenever he’s on the floor,” he said of his import who also starred alongside mid-conference pickup Adrian Wong on Saturday.

On tap for Magnolia in rounding out its classification round schedule are NorthPort, powerhouse San Miguel Beer, Meralco, streaking Alaska, and desperate Blackwater, and winning majority of those assignments could more or less assure a twice-to-beat advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

“As cliché as it sounds, we are taking things one game at a time,” he said. “After all, you should consider NorthPort, which dealt Meralco its first loss. That’s a dangerous team. That said, I’ve always believed that there’s no light assignment in this league, because once you do, that’s when you get into trouble.”

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TAGS: Chito Victolero, Hotshots, PBA governors’ cup, Victolero
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