The Star Hotshots’ flight to the Promised Land could have been set on Sunday night, but the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel stormed back to extend the series to sudden death.
The Hotshots failed to take advantage of their 3-2 series lead, falling to Ginebra in a 91-67 beatdown in Game 6 of their 2017 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. But despite missing the chance to be the first team book a seat in the All-Filipino Finals, Star head coach Chito Victolero still remains positive, saying that it just went back to square one.
“It’s still positive, it’s still 50-50, at least Game 7, do-or-die, maganda pa rin,” said Victolero after the match.
“Maganda pa rin yung morale ng players. Ito naman yung inaasahan namin eh.”
Looking at how Game 6 went, Star actually had a promising start, even leading 39-38 after the first half. However, things went downhill come the next half, adding just 28 points to their total.
“Sama ng laro namin. Siguro we need to regroup again. We have a strong start pero ‘di lang namin nasustain and then yung finish namin, yung third quarter namin yun yung masama,” admitted the Bulacan native.
Moreover, the Hotshots shot poorly from the field, hitting just 26-of-85 for a 31 percent clip. And their defense went loose, allowing Ginebra to score more points off turnovers, 23-22; more points in the paint, 34-30; and more points off the break, 9-7.
And with those let-ups, Victolero now has something in mind that Star must work on as the penultimate game looms — defense.
“Number one we need to adjust on our defense, kailangan namin mag-focus sa depensang ginagawa namin plus we need to be composed,” pointed out the Mapua alumnus.
As the do-or-die Game 7 is just a night away, Victolero and the Hotshots are not losing hope, reiterating that their effort will be pivotal to their desire of advancing to the title match.
“Kami naman we just play hard. Walang momentum. Before nasa amin yung momentum pero nakabalik sila tapos nasa kanila yung momentum, nakabalik kami. I don’t know anong mangyayari,” Victolero remarked about the tight Clasico series.
“Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko, ito yung gusto natin. Some of you merong experience dito, but it all boils down to our effort, energy and our desire to win.
“Kailangan siguro panoorin ko lang yung film, ready ko lang sarili ko. Ako naman, kung ano lang yung dumating, lahat naman positive ako diyan. ‘Di para sa amin ‘tong Game 6, at least may Game 7 pa,” the 41-year-old tactician declared.
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