CHITO Victolero offered no excuses for Magnolia's blowout loss to TnT Tropang Giga in Game 1 of a 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Finals that was anticipated to be a dogfight between two mighty corporate rivals.
“Bad start, bad game,” was how the Hotshots coach described his team’s 88-70 loss on Wednesday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym.
And how bad did Magnolia play?
The Hotshots never led in the series opener and found themselves left behind so early, 20-2, and eventually trailed by as many as 32 points, 73-41, late in the third quarter.
All-time record in futility
Worst of all, the Hotshots shot a horrific 27 percent from the field (20-of-73), which now stands as the all-time league finals record for lowest field goal percentage by a team, according to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Ironically, the TnT franchise previously owned the dubious record when it shot 30.3 percent (23-of-76) in Game 3 of the 2003 all-Filipino Cup Finals against Coco-Cola – then handled by now Tropang Giga coach Chot Reyes. The only difference was TnT still managed to win the game, 67-59, despite its woeful shooting.
In Purefoods’ franchise history, the shooting woes rank third all-time lowest, and worst in a game in the finals.
It didn’t help that two of the Hotshots’ gunners in Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee were both nursing injuries. The 29-year-old Sangalang was bothered by back spasm and was limited to just 10 minutes of play, while the 32-year-old Lee was nusing a painful shoulder which he hurt back in the team’s semifinals series against Meralco.
The lackluster showing doesn’t speak well of a winning franchise like Magnolia, according to Victolero.
“We will certainly try to fix that. Today is another day, we will forget that game (yesterday), and we will move forward together,” he said.
Lessons were learned and Victolero vowed a better Magnolia will be showing up starting in Friday’s Game Two to give TnT a run for its money for the rest of the best-of-seven series.
“We will play and go back to Magnolia Hotshots’ basketball. We will play better (tomorrow),” said the Magnolia mentor.
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