THE banging and pounding in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs obviously taking its toll, the Holy Week break certainly comes like a rain in the middle of the dessert for the four teams battling it out in the semifinals.
Battered the last two weeks since the quarterfinals began, Magnolia and defending champion San Miguel cherished the four-day break starting Wednesday as it give them time to rest and recuperate.
Coach Chito Victolero noted the Hotshots had played seven games in the last 14 days, while San Miguel counterpart Leo Austria said the Beermen had seen action in five games in the last seven days.
“We’re very happy with the schedule. Sana laging Holy Week para mahaba-haba ang pahinga,” said Victolero after the Hotshots pulled off an 85-74 win over Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Tuesday night’s Game Three at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Inaamin naman namin na we’re tired. Maglaro ka ba naman ng seven games in 14 nights.”
“Everybody could be recharged and refocus,” Austria said for his part following the Beermen’s hard-earned 92-82 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Monday.
Both Magnolia and San Miguel were pushed to the limit in their quarterfinals series against Barangay Ginebra and TnT Katropa, respectively, before advancing to the best-of-seven semifinals.
The Beermen currently lead their series against top seed Fuel Masters, 2-0, while the Hotshots trail the no. 2 seed Elasto Painters, 2-1.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila (Hotshots) malusot lang natin ito, we’ll have a good rest, at least kahit paano mabalik yung legs namin,” said Victolero. “Maganda para sa amin itong pahinga. Hopefully maka- recover agad yung mga players ko.”
Magnolia took a two-day rest and won’t return to practice until Good Friday.
San Miguel meanwhile, will only rest on Friday.
“Ibibigay ko sa kanila yun (Friday rest) para mag-reflect and be with their families,” said Austria. “But they should still remain focus for our next game.”
Rain or Shine also skipped practice on Wednesday and Friday, while Phoenix had their rest on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The semis resumes on Eastern Sunday with Game 3 of the San Miguel-Phoenix series, while Game 4 of the Rain or Shine-Magnolia series will be played Monday.
“Medyo drain na kaming lahat physically and mentally,” disclosed Victolero. “So embrace namin itong break, kahit kami sa coaching staff, at least para ma-refresh kami.”