PBA: Magnolia coach Victolero sees ‘different battle’ vs TNT in semis
MANILA, Philippines-Magnolia coach Chito Victolero is hoping that his team can make it competitive against defending champion TNT in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series which starts on Wednesday.
The Hotshots will face the Tropang Giga in a rematch of last season’s Philippine Cup finale that saw the latter needing just five games to lift the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy in Bacolor, Pampanga.
“It’s a different battle, they are the defending champions,” said Victolero after Magnolia dispatched NLEX with a 112-106 overtime win in the rubber match of their best-of-three quarterfinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
“They beat us in the bubble and hopefully we can compete. We will try our best again to compete and to go back in the finals,” added Victolero, who steered the Hotshots to a 10th semis appearance under his tenure.
TNT beat Magnolia, 78-72, in their lone elimination round meeting last June 5 when the league opened its 47th season at the Big Dome.
The Tropang Giga will head to the series with plenty of rest after needing only one game to dispatch the Converge FiberXers in the quarters thanks to a twice-to-beat advantage.
Magnolia had to go the distance in order to beat NLEX, with a game-tying three from Paul Lee late in regulation and an all-around showing from Jio Jalalon in overtime securing the Game 3 win.
For Victolero, having to go through the Road Warriors may bode well for the Hotshots.
“I’m thankful that Coach Yeng [Guiao’s] gave us a competitive battle,” said Victolero in Filipino. “It boiled down to one possession, it boiled down to one rebound, one miss. So I think they sort of helped us prepare for the semis.”