SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — Magnolia didn’t just put itself in a position to enter the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals when it added to the miseries of a struggling Rain or Shine through a 70-62 decision, Saturday.
The Hotshots are now also in contention for a top four spot — a coveted position, since it arms teams with a twice-to-beat edge for the next round.
This is Magnolia’s fourth straight win, for a 5-4 record.
Currently, the Hotshots sit in the seventh spot of the team standings behind reigning, five-time champions San Miguel. The Beermen also carry a 5-4 record after suffering back-to-back losses.
The top four teams at present are Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (7-2), TNT (6-3), Phoenix Super LPG (6-3), and Meralco (5-3). The Tropang Giga and the Bolts are currently playing as of this publishing.
Head coach Chito Victolero isn’t looking too far ahead, though.
“We just try to control kung ano man ‘yung mako-control namin and wala na kaming mako-control with the other teams, kung anong mangyayari sa other teams. We just try to do the best effort that we can do,” he said.
For him, their sights remain locked on their elimination round campaign.
The Hotshots will first go up against a hungry NorthPort on Sunday. They then have the luxury of a three-day break before taking on another win-thirsty crew in Blackwater on Wednesday.
“We have back-to-back games.
“Tomorrow we have a game against NorthPort. ‘Yun lang muna ‘yung ko-controlin namin,” said the 2018 Coach of the Year, now in his fourth season at the helm for Magnolia.
All that matters, Victolero said, is the mere chance of making it to the playoffs.
“Then bahala na si Lord. Bahala na ‘yung sa taas kung saan kami pupunta. Ang importante, we have a chance,” he said.
“‘Yun naman ‘yung pinaliwanag ko sa kanila before, na give ourselves a chance sa playoffs.”