Hotshots hope to keep hot run going

October 18, 2018
Chris Tiu
Chris Tiu of Rain or Shine gets by Paolo Javelona of Northport in the second quarter of their game on Wednesday night. The Elasto Painters won. (PBA Images)

DON’T be surprised if you catch Magnolia coach Chito Victolero wearing a wide smile.

The youthful coach after all has a number of good reasons to be happy.

For one thing, Magnolia has won its last five outings to become the hottest team right now in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

But what makes Victolero happier is the battery of point guards who, he said, have been playing quite well.

“Happy ako; talagang maganda ang inilalaro ng mga guards namin,” said Victolero during post-game interview that followed the Hotshots’ 83-73 spanking of Alaska last Oct. 14.

Victolero was referring to Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee and Marc Barroca who combined for 44 points to complement import Romeo Travis on offense.

“Maayos talaga at mataas ang kumpinyansa nila (point guards),” added Victolero.

Travis himself came through with a double-double after finishing with 19 points and same number of rebounds in Magnolia’s seventh win in eight outings.

Now, the Hotshots are facing another big test today, taking on Meralco in the 7 p.m. main offering of another double-header at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Hotshots will be shooting for win number eight as they try to strengthen their bid for Top Four where teams have to win only once over their lesser seeded foes in the quarterfinal round to advance right away to the semifinals.

Meralco is one of three tough opponents the Hotshots are facing as they round out their elimination campaign. On Oct. 26, they will return to the Ynares Center to face KaTropa, which, incidentally, is also on a hot streak.

The Hotshots will then cap their campaign in the elimination on Oct. 28 with a game against Barangay Ginebra at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Hotshots are setting out today hoping to match up the Bolt’s will to win.

“Our desire and effort are the key factors for this game. We need to surpass or match up the will to win of Meralco,” said Victolero.

“We want to secure our chances to the top 4 position, so our defense and execution is also very important for this very crucial game,” he added.

The Bolts are still in contention, although their chances are very slim. With their 2-6 card, the Bolts will have to sweep their last three outings for a possible entry through quotient or playoff.

“Hahabulin namin ang pwedeng habulin. Preparasyon na rin namin iyon for the playoffs,” said Victolero.

Rain or Shine clashes with Columbian Dyip in the first game at 4:30 p.m., looking to sustain its belated streak that could still work wonders in its own campaign.

The Elasto Painters are gunning for a third straight win that would put them in a tie for eighth-running spot, a goal that seemed improbable after they started the tourney at 0-4.

The Painters have five more games to play, and that means they are still well in contention.