MAGNOLIA's bid to retain the Governors’ Cup crown hangs in the balance as the Hotshots battle twice-to-beat TNT in the quarterfinals.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said the Hotshots are definitely the underdog in the series, not only for being the sixth-seed but also having the tough task of containing TNT’s star guard Jayson Castro, who recently returned from injury.
The Hotshots won their elimination round game against the KaTropa, 100-93, last Saturday in Davao City but that was without Castro.
“Sabi ko naman sa players, as long as may chance tayo, ‘yung opportunity na ‘yun, hindi natin sasayangin. Let’s see,” said Victolero to SPIN.ph. “Let’s try to prepare hard. We know na ‘yung kalaban namin, they are very tough especially Jayson, nandoon. It’s a different team na nakalaban namin sa Davao.”
“But I think we are ready. We’ll try to have that proper mindset. We have to be consistent sa mga gagawin namin,” said Victolero.
The match is set at 7 p.m. at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum right after the other quarterfinal match between NLEX and NorthPort at 4:30 p.m.
Even with the win against the KaTropa during the eliminations, Victolero said the Hotshots didn’t completely had control of the match.
“Na-execute namin game plan namin. Of course, nakadepensa rin ng maayos. Hindi naman namin na-dominate ‘yung game na ‘yun. Nakahabol din sila. Sabi ko nga, it’s a different story kapag nandyan si Jayson,” said Victolero.
Victolero will lean on its guards in Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and new acquisition Chris Banchero to contain Castro.
“’Yun naman ‘yung reason kung bakit namin kinuha si Chris. Another fresh legs. Like ngayon, katapat namin si Jayson. Katapat namin TNT. Another fresh legs for our match-up. Importante lang ‘yung naitutulong sa amin ni Chris is laging meron kaming energy sa loob together with Jio, Mark, Paul. ‘Yung rotation namin medyo deep,” said Victolero.