PBA: Defense is key for Magnolia in semis Game 1 win

PBA: Defense is key for Magnolia in semis Game 1 win over Phoenix

/ 09:39 PM January 24, 2024

magnolia phoenix pba semis Game 1

Magnolia Hotshots against Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Game 1 semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIREr.net

MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said that clamping down on defense was the central plan of the Hotshots against the pesky Phoenix squad in Game 1 of PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Wednesday.

The Hotshots took a close 82-79 win over the Fuel Masters where the team was able to follow Victolero’s plan of keeping coach Jamike Jarin’s wards struggling on offense.


“It’s our game plan to limit the score to under 90 points because that’s our average in points allowed. For the whole conference, we’re the number one team in defense so we like it to be like that,” said the top coach.


“Hopefully, we can do that for the whole series so we’ll have a good chance of winning the games.”

The Fuel Masters felt Magnolia’s wrath on defense as they were suffocated to shoot a measly 37 percent field goal shooting as a team. To make matters worse, they only sank nine of 36 tries from the three point area.

On the other end, the Hotshots, as a team, registered 10 steals that ultimately spelled the end for Phoenix.

magnolia phoenix pba semis Game 1

Phoenix coach Jamike Jarin Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Victolero, though, and credited Jarin for his masterful defensive plans for the Hotshots.

“We had a hard time scoring, ourselves because they disrupted our offense and coach Jamike did a really good job in disrupting our offense.” It’s a good thing that we’re focused, solid and locked in on our defense.”

“Maybe that’s why the breaks of the game went to us, because of our hustle and aggressiveness down the stretch.”


Magnolia did have some struggles on offense with guard tandem of Paul Lee and Jio Jalalon shooting poorly. Lee sank just three of his 10 attempts for 11 points while Jalalon was limited to just seven points.

Import Tyler Bey picked up that slack with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds.

But despite the Game 1 victory, Victolero knows they need to make changes especially in locking down Jason Perkins, who still poured  25 points for Phoenix in the defeat.

“We also need to have a game plan on Perk because he did a good job today in helping the import,” said Victolero.

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Johnathan Williams III had a lowly 11-point outing but still snagged 18 rebounds in the process.

TAGS: Chito Victolero, Magnolia Hotshots, PBA Commissioner's Cup

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