Barroca helps Magnolia 'weather the storm' en route to PBA Finals

Mark Barroca helps Magnolia ‘weather the storm’ en route to PBA Finals

/ 08:30 PM February 01, 2024

PBA Magnolia Hotshots

FILE – Magnolia Hotshots are headed to the PBA Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia made sure to learn from its mistakes and eliminate Phoenix in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.

The Hotshots notched an 89-79 win in Game 4 over the Fuel Masters that sealed their return to the PBA Finals on Wednesday, thanks in large part to Mark Barroca’s leadership and advice.

Barroca, who finished with 21 points, five assists and four rebounds, reminded his teammates about the squad’s gamely mistakes at the hands of Phoenix.

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“We all talked about it because coach (Chito Victolero) told us that in Games 2 and 3, we were chased and that’s what happened again earlier so I told them, ‘let’s weather this storm.’ I told them to stay composed because we knew that Phoenix would come back. That’s what they’re good at. We just stayed composed, they got back, we weathered it and we managed to grind it out with our defense,” said the veteran guard in Filipino.

READ: Barroca rues Magnolia’s ‘wake up loss’ to Phoenix in PBA semis

“We know our identity. If we can’t shoot, they won’t be able to shoot too with our defense and that’s what fueled us. We really believed and bought in with the adjustments made by coach.”

Barroca’s stats had a little more glimmer as he did all those as a starter for Magnolia—his first for the conference.

The shifty guard was right when he said the Hotshots were always victims of late Fuel Master rallies.

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For the entirety of the semis series, Magnolia would always hold a huge lead over coach Jamike Jarin’s wards but the lead would always evaporate into thin air.

READ: PBA: Tyler Bey ‘already knew’ clutch Paul Lee triple was good

The Hotshots would always pull it off by the end of the buzzer, though, except for Game 3 where they lost, 103-85.

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Other than wanting to avoid their costly mistakes, Barroca also said the idea of seeing Magnolia back in the PBA Finals was a sight that motivated them to close out the series in Game 4.

“My mindset is, we’re so hungry to get in the Finals because we’ve always just been in the semis for almost five years now. We talked about getting over the hump and it all paid off including the ten-month preparation and the On Tour [preseason].”

“Our chemistry, the little things that turned into big things, so far, all of those paid off.”

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What awaits Magnolia on the other end of the seven-game series are the San Miguel Beermen and the finalè begins on Friday at the same venue.

TAGS: Magnolia Hotshots, Mark Barroca, PBA Commissioner's Cup

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