PRESSURE got the better of Magnolia Pambansang Manok.
Coach Chito Victolero admitted the Hotshots crumbled in the face of the San Miguel Beermen’s fierce endgame comeback and complete a 108-99 Game Five victory in double overtime to win a historic fourth straight PBA Philippine Cup title on Friday night.
The Hotshots led by as much as 71-48 in the third quarter and appeared ready to extend the best-of-seven series to another game.
But the Beermen showed their championship poise when it mattered, riding on the broad shoulders of Cignal-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP June Mar Fajardo to turn the tide around and frustrate the Hotshots’ bid to live another day.
“Malaking bagay sa mga players ko yun (experience). I know Paul Lee has experience, Mark Barroca, PJ Simon, Rafi Reavis, but as a group importante yun,” said Victolero shortly after the championship series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Yung San Miguel grabe yung chemistry nila, at grabe rin yung mental toughness nila,” he added. “And hopefully, yun ang nakuha namin dito sa finals."
Magnolia committed 26 turnovers compared to the 18 of San Miguel, but half of them came in the fourth quarter onwards when the Beermen began making their move.
San Miguel had 30 points out of Magnolia’s total turnovers, with Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang accounting for a combined 15.
The championship stint was the first for the Purefoods franchise since its grandslam season in 2014, and Victolero hopes the Hotshots learned a lot out of it.
“We learned a lot especially on how to prepare with the mindset of the players,” he said. “Pero yung chemistry and teamwork importante talaga yun.”
And that’s one thing the Hotshots will definitely bring with them in the coming Commissioner’s Cup.