STAR coach Chito Victolero was quick to admit that emotions got the best of his team, including himself, down the stretch that caused their late meltdown as Ginebra hacked out a hard-earned 73-60 victory in Game Three of the PBA Philippine Cup on Monday.
Leading by one with about five minutes left in the game, the Hotshots got stuck at 60 as the Gin Kings finished the game on a 14-0 run, behind the heroics of Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar.
To make things worse, Victolero admitted that his team failed to keep their emotions in check amid the blistering Ginebra rally, which ultimately led to their downfall.
"I think yun lang composure namin. Medyo nawala yung composure namin in the last five minutes, yung defense namin, yung execution namin sa offense," Victolero said.
"Na-frustrate kami sa non-calls.. ganun. Siguro next time we have to be composed sa ganung situation," he added.
Even Victolero momentarily lost his cool as he was called for a technical foul with the Kings up by 10 late in the game, which also led him to raise the white flag and pull out his starters to preserve them for what could be another grueling match-up on Wednesday.
“Last five minutes was all about execution and breaks of the game. Naka-execute sila sa depensa. Kami naka-execute din kami sa defense but may mga lapses din kami. Yung breaks, open si Sol, open si Japeth at na-shoot nila. Yun yung naging turnaround ng game,” he said.
"It's a 10 point lead so wala na talagang habol yun, kailangan lang siguro nila magpahinga in preparation for Game Four," he said.
The youthful coach insisted that Star fans need not worry as he believes that they can bounce back stronger on Wednesday, especially with how hard his players worked despite the defeat.
"Kung aggressiveness at energy at effort, wala akong masasabi sa team ko. Siguro yun lang, para talaga sa Ginebra yung game," said Victolero.