PBA Finals: Magnolia side eager to shed ‘Introvoys’ tag
GETTING TO THE CHORUS

Insults mean nothing to Magnolia side eager to shed ‘Introvoys’ tag

/ 05:20 AM February 02, 2024

PBA Finals San Miguel vs Magnolia

Representative for PBA Finals bound San Miguel and Magnolia during a press conference a day before Game 1. –PBA PHOTO

Magnolia is fully aware of the online term being used to describe its reputation, which the team looks to shed against San Miguel Beer in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

“We just ignore [the name-calling] because we know how it is with social media,” Mark Barroca told The Inquirer when asked of the “Introvoys” tag that rival fans pinned on the Hotshots over their perceived penchant for starting with a bang and ending with a whimper.

The term, which came from the name of a popular rock band in the 80s and 90s, is comparable to the times when San Miguel endured the days of “Petronovela” for the constant drama surrounding the team or when Barangay Ginebra was called “Kangkong” during its title drought prior to the arrival of coach Tim Cone.

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READ: SCHEDULE: San Miguel vs Magnolia PBA Finals

The label, however, won’t be a primary motivation.

“We’re too old to deal with such kind of insults, and we would rather let things be,” Barroca added. “As they say ‘Control what you can control.’ We can’t control what their opinions are, but we have always proven that we can compete.”

The Hotshots, who made it to the final stage of Season’s 48 first conference after eliminating the Phoenix Fuel Masters in a grind-out semifinal series, will try to take another small but important step toward silencing critics on Friday when the Finals tips off at 7:30 p.m. inside Mall of Asia Arena.

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“[That Introvoys tag] is only for the eliminations; in the finals, it’s a different story,” said Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva, who will also play an important part in trying to change fans’ perception of the squad along with Tyler Bey, Jio Jalalon and Paul Lee.

READ: PBA Finals: Magnolia’s ‘Family’ vs San Miguel’s ‘Death 15’

“There’s only two teams left to compete for the trophy and we’re all hungry to win it,” added Abueva.

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Riding high on the 11-game sweep of the PBA On Tour exhibition series, the Hotshots topped the eliminations and displayed no letdown during the playoffs to arrange a date with the talent-laden Beermen anchored by import Bennie Boatwright and June Mar Fajardo.

Difficult task

Hotshots coach Chito Victolero continued to acknowledge the difficult task of beating the Beermen this time, not only because of the Boatwright-Fajardo dynamic, but also the stacked lineup his counterpart and good friend Jorge Gallent has at his disposal.

“I think we will try to find the best possible way, the best possible defense not only for Bennie but the whole ‘Death 15,’” Victolero said. “Their second and third group are also playing well which is why we can’t just look at one import or one player, it’s everyone on that San Miguel team.”

READ: PBA Finals: Chito Victolero, Magnolia brace for loaded San Miguel

Magnolia is motivated to finally be on the winning side of a Finals series after losing three of the previous four appearances under Victolero, including losses to San Miguel in the 2018 and 2019 editions of Philippine Cup. Barroca acknowledged that the window is slowly closing for the Hotshots.

He was Finals Most Valuable Player when Magnolia took down Alaska for the 2018 Governors’ Cup title, the first and still the only victory ride Victolero has experienced in the big league.

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The Hotshots fell short of adding another trophy in the 2019 Philippine Cup, squandering a 3-2 lead against the Beermen. They returned to the finals in the 2021 edition of the same conference, but had no answers for Mikey Williams and the TNT Tropang Giga.

“It’s hard to get to the Finals, and all teams continue to get better each conference,” Barroca said. “But now that we’re given another chance, maybe this would be the time for us finally to win it all.”

TAGS: Magnolia, PBA, San Miguel Beer

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