PBA: Magnolia turns to its strengths in shutting down Meralco | Inquirer Sports

PBA: Magnolia turns to its strengths in shutting down Meralco

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 11:04 PM March 02, 2022
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia went back to its strength to compensate for its depleted lineup in dealing with Meralco in a matchup of two top teams in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup.

The Hotshots, thus, slowed things down and pounded the paint to turn the Bolts’ light off, 88-85, with head coach Chito Victolero organizing his offense around forward Mike Harris.

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“That’s our strength, because the strength of our import is playing in the paint,” said Victolero Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “In the first half we took poor perimeter shots and we had a lot of turnovers.”

“We had to adjust our pace on offense and give Mike a lot of touches so that their [the Bolts] defense would face a different scheme.”

Magnolia went 5-of-12 from mid-range and a poor 3-of-11 in the first half and trailed 47-36 heading into the break.

Things began to change in the third when Victolero used Jalalon extensively to counter Meralco’s pace.

The Hotshots also punished the interior, scoring 46 points in the paint to the Bolts’ 26.

But aside of the offense, Victolero’s players also kept their composure on the defensive end.

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Mark Barroca was vital in stopping the Bolts in their final possession as he stopped Allein Maliksi from making a clean pass to an open Chris Banchero in the right corner.

Maliksi managed to catch the bounce but he once again ran into Barroca’s defense as he forced an air ball from way beyond the arc with 2.3 seconds to play.

“Mark is one of my best defensive perimeter players and also one of my veterans,” said Victolero. “He knows the situation and how to defend taller players. He also knows Allein well.”

“Mark does a good job of orchestrating our plays and executing our defense. In fact he sprained his ankle in practice yesterday but he seems to have woken up from the right side of the bed today and he told me that he’s good to go.”

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TAGS: 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup, Chito Victolero, Magnolia Hotshots
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