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    Magnolia hopes to carry Game 1 momentum, but braces for SMB fightback

    May 3, 2019
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    MAGNOLIA tries to carry the momentum of its 99-94 Game 1 win over defending champion San Miguel Beer as the two teams clash anew Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup finals.

    The Hotshots hope to make it back-to-back against the Beermen in their 7 p.m. encounter at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and take full control of the best-of-seven series.

    Coach Chito Victolero said the Hotshots are ready whatever adjustments the four-time champions are bringing to the table.

    “We know babalik at babalik ang San Miguel,” said Victolero. “We just have to prepare hard for the whole team because of their shooters and their second group.”

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      Not lost on the Magnolia coach was the same experience they had against the Beermen in last year’s All-Filipino Cup finals when they also won the series opener only to be swept by the champions in the next four games.

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      “It was a learning experience for us. Siguro ang kailangan lang namin gawin is to settle down and prepare hard for the next game,” he said.

      Big man Ian Sangalang also fondly remembers that fateful collapse of the Hotshots.

      “Siguro ibang usapan na ngayon. Basta ituloy lang namin yung ginagawa naming at maniwala kami na kaya naming mag-champion at kaya naming talunin sila,” said the Magnolia big man, who posted numbers of 17 points and 12 rebounds in the serie opener Wednesday.

      San Miguel coach Leo Austria expects the Beermen to regain the shooting touch that totally abandoned them in the Game 1 loss.

      While he credits the Hotshots’ defense for holding his team to a paltry 37 percent shooting from the field, Austria knows the shots will eventually fall for the Beermen.

      “We still have a lot of time to regroup and know what to do in the next game,” he said.

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      With their perimeter shots not clicking, the Beermen went to big man June Mar Fajardo inside and the five-time MVP responded well with 35 points and 21 rebounds.

      “We’re not relying on June Mar alone but if we will have the chance the get him the ball, then why not,” said Austria.

      “But the problem was our outside shooting. Hindi nag-click yung outside shooting namin except in the first few minutes of the first quarter,” he added. “But those players na were expecting na makakagawa sa labas medyo off night. But next game will be a different ballgame.”

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      PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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