Barroca, Hotshots ready to step up pace in Game Three after grinding it out during Holy Week
Training through Holy Week is no longer new for Mark Barroca, who used to sweat it out during the holidays back in the time of coach Tim Cone. Jerome Ascano

A REJUVENATED Magnolia seeks to dictate the pace in Game Three as it tries to pull off another upset against San Miguel Beer on Easter Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

After a two-day break following a 92-77 loss last Sunday that tied the best-of-seven series at one game apiece, the Hotshots have been sweating it out the last four days of Holy Week, preparing for the resumption of the series a week later.

“Nakapag-ipon na kami ng lakas,” Mark Barroca told SPIN.ph. “Yung sistema namin, hindi kami pwedeng mag-relax sa San Miguel. From first to fourth, kailangan yung energy namin, nandun lagi, kasi pag half court, half court lang, binagalan namin, lugi talaga kami.” 

“Babagalan (nila) dahil kay June Mar, so gusto namin ma-sustain yung tempo namin,” added Barroca, who stands at the forefront of the Hotshots’ pesky, but energy-draining defense alongside Jio Jalalon.

“Hindi naman (necessarily) pabilisan (yung tempo); basta yung energy namin,” Barroca said. “May mga scheme kami eh, so maraming energy talaga makukuha dun, so kailangan ma-sustain namin yun – yung bench namin.”

Barroca, who turns 32 on April 25, didn’t complain that the Hotshots trained during Good Friday and Black Saturday on the eve of Game Three that tips off at 6:30 p.m.

“Okay lang, ganun talaga, trabaho natin ‘to eh,” the seven-year veteran said. “Simula dati pa naman talaga, every Good Friday o Black Saturday, nandyan kami lagi eh. Biyernes Santo na Biyernes Santo, nagpa-practice kami. Sanay na siguro yung katawan namin dun.”

Barroca has been going through those holiday motions since being under coach Tim Cone, who steered them to five championships, including a dominant run of four straight titles from the 2013 Governors’ Cup – at the expense of SMB (Petron) – to their title defense of the next edition of the season-ending conference.

“Kay coach Tim pa lang dati, pag pasok ko dito, yun na yun eh – Holy Week, meron talaga kaming practice eh,” said Barroca, a five-time champion and former Finals MVP.

“Kahit ayaw, kailangan eh, kasi may game tayo ng Sunday,” the Zamboanga native added as the Hotshots try to retake the lead of the series.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos