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    Foul trouble keeping Magnolia from playing defense, rues Victolero

    Aug 11, 2022
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    MAGNOLIA isn’t playing true to form.

    Coach Chito Victolero said as the best defensive team in the PBA Philippine Cup, the Hotshots are not getting the job done owing to early foul trouble that hounded the team in the last two games of the best-of-seven series against reigning champion TNT.

    The dilemma left the team staring at a 1-3 deficit and facing a must-win situation starting in Game 4 on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    See: Hot-shooting TNT backs Magnolia against the wall with Game 4 romp

    Victolero can’t seem to put into words how calls against his team had badly affected the Hotshots’ playing style.

    “We’re the No. 1 defensive team, but the problem is, we cannot play defense right now,” said the Magnolia coach after a 102-84 Game 4 loss against the Tropang Giga.

    “For the last two games, yan na yun, e. Palagi kaming foul trouble,” he added. “That is the key. We need to play defense because that’s our strength. Kung hindi kami makakadepensa, wala kaming chance dito.”

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    Veteran forward Calvin Abueva had been the biggest victim so far as the ‘Beast’ found himself shackled by foul trouble in the previous two games.

    Abueva fouled out in a 93-92 loss in Game 3, and was held to just two points the last time after he was whistled for his fifth foul midway through the third quarter.

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      Big man Ian Sangalang also fouled out in Game 3, while Paul Lee had four the following game.

      “My key players like Calvin, Ian, Paul, they’re always in foul trouble. I don’t know how we can adjust,” said Victolero.

      “It’s very hard for the players because we just keep on playing our defense, pero yun nga, yun lang yung nangyayari.”

      The Hotshots are left with the daunting task of needing to sweep the Tropang Giga for three straight games to earn a return trip to the finals of the same conference where they lost to TNT in five games last season at the Bacolor bubble in Pampanga.

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