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Tiebreaker Times


Defense versus offense will define Finals, says Chito Victolero

Coach Chito Victolero believes that the 2018 Philippine Cup Finals between his Magnolia Hotshots and the reigning, three-time All-Filipino champions San Miguel Beermen will be a showcase of defense versus offense.

“It’s a battle of defense and offense eh,” opined the second-year Magnolia mentor on Wednesday afternoon in the Finals’ press conference at Sambokojin in Eastwood, Quezon City.

“I know that and Coach Leo [Austria] knows that.”

Ever since Victolero took over the head coaching reins in 2016, the Hotshots have forged an identity as a defensive squad. In their six-game semis clash with the NLEX Road Warriors, they had limited the latter to just 88.1 points.

“We’ve been consistent with our goals nung start palang ng conference, which is to limit our opponents under 90 points. Nagawa namin yun… Yun din yung goal namin sa series against NLEX and we’re very successful,”  Victolero pointed out.

“Siguro yun din magiging trend namin sa Finals.”

Magnolia gave San Miguel a taste of their defense when they met each other in the eliminations last February 4. They may have lost 76-77, but it only showed that the Hotshots could be on par with the Beermen.

Now, of course, will be very different from their elims meeting, as the Hotshots will be facing a Beermen side that knows how to play in the Finals. Even Victolero acknowledges the fact that they are indeed the underdogs.

“Kahit sino namang kalaban ng San Miguel, underdog yan eh,” said Victolero. “We just need to play together. I think yung team namin, yung buong team namin—not Paul Lee, not Barroca—we need to stop San Miguel as a team.

“Not one-on-one, not two-on-two. It’s about five on five.”

But even with the odds seemingly not in their way, Victolero knows that his wards will give it their all, since he knows how inspired they all are by playing in the Finals — the first time the franchise has made it since 2014.

#ReadMore  Mark Barroca comes full circle with Magnolia

“They are ready. I think yung challenge na mangyayari ngayon is that mas motivated sila, mas inspired sila,” said the 42-year-old tactician.

“They’re very inspired. Motivated yung mga bata. Sana magtuloy-tuloy sa Finals.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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