HURTING as they may be, Star coach Chito Victolero said the Hotshots need to put behind the heartbreaking loss they suffered at the hands of the San Miguel Beermen on Wednesday night.
The quicker, the better.
Victolero stressed there’s a bigger battle to conquer for Star than dwell on the misfortune it suffered in a 111-110 setback to the Beermen in Game Three of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup after the game-winning three-pointer by Marcio Lassiter.
The clutch Lassiter shot with 1.6 seconds left – and with the Hotshots no longer having any timeouts – put the team on the brink of elimination as they trail the Beermen, 2-1, in the best-of-five series.
The Star coach said the Hotshots need to take the loss out of their minds and focus instead on Game Four set on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“You can’t dwell on that. Kailangan lang namin mag-move forward, mag move-on,” he said moments after the thrilling game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Kumbaga parang nag-break kami ng girlfriend ko. Nasaktan ako, pero kailangan namin mag-move forward,” Victolero added. “Hindi kailangang itong experience na ito laging nasa minds namin. Kailangan naming matulog ngayon and prepare for tomorrow’s practice. Alam ko mahirap kalimutan pero kailangan naming gawin.”
Victory appeared within the reach of the Hotshots after import Ricardo Ratliffe scored on a semi-hook off Arwind Santos and Charles Rhodes to give Star a 110-108 lead in the final 13.6 seconds.
Unfortunately for Star and Victolero, Lassiter played the spoiler’s role.
“Nandoon yung depensa, ultimong yung challenge ni Justin (Melton) nandun din ,pero pumasok pa rin. So para sa San Miguel talaga yung game,” he said.
The Star coach, however, isn’t about to wave the white flag given how close the first three games of the series had been.
Needing to win two straight games to make the finals, the Hotshots now need to play with a sense of urgency from here on, according to Victolero.
“Right now we’re down by one game so do-or-die na kami,” he stressed. “So we need to prepare hard for the next game kasi pag natalo kami tapos na yung series. But we’re still positive.”