IT didn’t come as a surprise for coach Chito Victolero when Mark Barroca nailed the game-winner that clinched for the team the thrilling Game Five win over San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup finals on Friday night.
Victolero said Barroca has been polishing his perimeter jumper in practice that he was confident the veteran guard would made the shot at the buzzer.
The Hotshots won, 88-86, to take a 3-2 series lead and move on the verge of winning their first All-Filipino championship since the 2014 grand slam.
“Halos everyday nakikita koi tong batang ito na ginagawa niya yun. Yun kanyang extra practice, yung mga ganung tira ginagawa niya. Talagang papasok dahil ginagawa niya,” said Victolero of Barroca, who was the PBA Press Corps finals MVP when Magnolia won the Governors Cup title last conference.
“Ang puso nito parang bakal,” added the Hotshots mentor. “Gustong-gusto niya yung ganyang tira.”
Barroca topscored for the team with 22 points and added five rebounds and five assists.
Coming off the timeout huddle with 14.5 seconds left and the game tied at 88, Victolero’s instruction was for the open man to take the last shot.
“It’s a decoy play by Jio (Jalalon) to find an open guy which was a good decision by Rodney (Brondial) to find Mark on the corner,” recalled Victolero of the winning play.
“But si Rodndey may nag-rotate sa kanya so na-swing niya kay Mark.”
Barroca pumped fake San Miguel big man Christian Standhardinger, dribbled the ball once before nailing the dagger shot that struck the heart of San Miguel.
“Nakita ko si Christian, at tantiya ko aabutan niya ako,” said Barroca of why he had to dribble the ball with the shot clock winding down.
“Akala ko nga wala nang oras nung nabitawan ko yung bola. Tinira ko na lang talaga, and thank God, pumasok.”
With momentum on the side of San Miguel after rallying back from 13 points down in the final five minutes, Barroca knew inside him it's all over for Magnolia if the game goes into overtime.
"Sa isip ko pag nag-overtime pa yun, mahihirapan na kami," he said. "So sabi namin bago pumasok ng court, yung last shot kuhanin natin."
The Hotshots did and now they're just a win away from ending the Beermen's domination of the All-Filipino Cup.