MAGNOLIA coach Chito Victolero was quick to take the blame after his squad blew a double-digit lead in an 89-87 defeat to Phoenix in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup debut on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Aside from the late-game meltdown, Victolero also owned up to a costly blunder at crunchtime where the team was assessed with a technical foul for calling a timeout it didn't have.
Matthew Wright drained a three-pointer to put the Fuel Masters ahead 88-87 with 3.2 seconds to go and the technical foul meant a bonus free throw for the Fuel Masters.
The Hotshots tried to contest the call, but video evidence showed Victolero indeed signaled to the table officials for a timeout.
“It’s my mannerism lang siguro. It’s my fault. Sabi ko nga, hindi dun nagsimula yung talo namin, it’s all on me lahat. Inaako ko yung responsibility for that,” said Victolero.
“During the huddle, I know naman na there’s no more timeout e. Siguro nga, di kami nagkaintindihan nung (table officials),” he added.
In the final play, PJ Simon’s last grasp attempt at a three pointer went way off.
There were talk after the game about a possible protest from the Magnolia side but both Victolero and team manager Alvin Patrimonio, after a lengthy conversation in the dugout, decided against it.
“Kay coach Chito na yung decision pero I think move on na tayo dun,” said Patrimonio.
“Okay na yan. Wala namang problema diyan. Di naman 'yun 'yung nag-decide ng game.”
Instead of crying over spilt milk, Victolero now would rather focus on preparing his squad for a game against a dangerous GlobalPort team next Saturday in Angeles City.
“We controlled the game up to 46 minutes and then yung last two minutes, dun kami bumitaw. It happens so kailangan mag-bounce back,” said Victolero.
“We’ll just prepare for our next game and let’s move on. Yun lang ang sabi ko sa kanila.”