MAGNOLIA is still halfway into its PBA Philippine Cup campaign, and yet the Hotshots now need to play with urgency if they they’re looking to advance to the playoffs.
Coach Chito Victolero is urging his team to treat every game from hereon with a playoff mentality after suffering their fourth loss in five outings Wednesday night against league-leader Phoenix Fuel Masters, 89-87, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The setback kept the team at the cellar with a 1-4 record going to its game against Alaska this Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“Kailangan lang siguro itong mga natitirang games namin kailangan playoff mentality na kami. Kasi matalo kami ng isa or dalawa, out na siguro kami,” said Victolero, who was the Coach of the Year awardee of the PBA Press Corps last year.
“For now kailangan na naming magkaroon ng sense of urgency, na kapag hindi pa kami manalo, maa-out na kami.”
After the Aces, still on the path of Magnolia are Columbian Dyip, Barangay Ginebra, NorthPort, Blackwater, and NLEX.
If there’s any consolation, it’s the fact the Hotshots lost three of their four games by slim margins, according to Victolero.
“Lahat ng game namin, except for San Miguel, all grinding game. Kumbaga sa dulo nagkakatalo. So yun ang kailangan namin, yung how to make a stop doon sa dulo,” he said.
The Phoenix game was a clear example of what Victolero was talking about.
Magnolia led by as many as 17 points, but allowed the Fuel Masters to get back in the game and have a chance of winning it down the stretch.
Victolero took the blame for the Hotshots’ endgame collapse.
“We expect naman na babalik yung Phoenix. But breaks of the game eh, pero kung mas naging tight pa yung depensa namin, na-stop naming yun. But it’s all me, it’s my responsibility and my call,” he said.
The Fuel Masters won it on Jason Perkins’ corner three-pointer in the final 19 seconds that put the team in front, 88-87.
Everything is all water under he bridge, and Victolero would rather look forward on the Hotshots’ remaining games.
“We just have to move on and concentrate on our game Saturday,” he stressed.