MAGNOLIA coach Chito Victolero is proud to see the Hotshots shake off championship hangover and a dismal start to reach the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
The Hotshots beat Barangay Ginebra in sudden death, 85-72, on Wednesday in a three-game quarterfinal that went the distance, keeping alive their quest for back-to-back league championships.
That is a feat in itself considering Magnolia finished the eliminations as the sixth seed entering the playoffs following a 0-3 to start off the conference after winning the championship in last season’s Governors’ Cup.
“It’s all God’s will,” said Victolero. “I don’t know how we survived the conference. We started at 0-3 and then 1-4. We started slow because of the championship hangover siguro. I’m very proud and very happy sa mga players ko.”
“It’s all about their grit, the effort, and the aggressiveness, their desire to makaahon sa 0-3,” Victolero said.
Victolero said the Hotshots were able to overcome adversity because of team chemistry, which he believes is the best in the league.
“It’s about team effort from Mon Abundo to Ian Sangalang. Grabe ‘yung chemistry ng team na ‘to. Masaya kami at nag-eenjoy kami every single possession offense and defense," the former Mapua guard said.
"Kung mapapansin nyo, ‘yung bench namin nag-eenjoy. It’s one of our strengths. We are not the most talented team, but in terms of chemistry, we are number one. That’s why nakalusot."
Following the 1-4 start, the Hotshots won five of their last six games to make it to the top six where they will be playing a best-of-three quarterfinal series, instead of having to win two games in order to advance.
They faced Ginebra, the third seed, and Magnolia once again overcame adversity by winning the final two games of the best-of-three series.
“We faced a very tough team in Ginebra. Sabi ko sa kanila, all the chances na nabigay sa atin ng Panginoon, lagi nating tanggapin … Medyo naunahan lang kami pero sabi ko sa kanila, if we give our 100 percent effort, we have a good chance,” said Victolero.