For Mark Barroca, Magnolia’s loss to the Meralco Bolts in their 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup debut last September 22 stung very hard.
No one could blame the veteran guard for feeling that way. The Hotshots had been on the verge of a successful start on their bid for a title repeat, but the Bolts had other plans. Meralco came back from 16 down to emerge with the 98-92 win.
“Nasaktan kami ng first game namin — ako rin. Yun yung masakit sa’kin,” admitted Barroca, who finished with 18 markers in that defeat.
“Nasayangan talaga kami sa game namin sa Meralco eh. Panalo na, pero natalo pa kami.”
But instead of dwelling on the loss, Barroca and the rest of the Hotshots decided to move on.
They did just that, bouncing back right away with a dominant 96-80 conquest of the NorthPort Batang Pier five nights after that loss to the Bolts. They then escaped the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 69-68, just last Friday.
And on Sunday, Magnolia dodged the Alaska Aces, 95-90, to extend their winning streak to three games.
“Yun nga, sabi namin, talo kami, so bounce back kami. Ito, panalo kaming tatlo,” proudly said Barroca, who produced 13 points, five assists, and four rebounds in the rematch of last year’s Governors’ Cup Finals.
For Barroca, their string of wins is important for the Hotshots before facing the top teams this conference, such as the Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen (4-0), whom they will face next this Friday, October 11.
“Ayaw namin malubog kasi nga ang ganda ng nilalaro ng iba ngayon eh. So kami, gusto namin manalo ng manalo hanggang makalaban namin yung mga elite teams, tulad ng San Miguel sa next game namin,” he said.
Still, though they may be winning, the Hotshots still have work to do.
Barroca said that they should do better in terms of execution especially in the final frame. Their match versus the Aces saw them nearly lose hold of a 14-point third quarter lead, as Alaska came knocking within four, 90-94, late.
“Mag-execute lang kami ng maayos sa fourth quarter. Kasi ‘pag lamang kami, nagre-relax kami,” said the eight-year pro out of Far Eastern University.
“Sustain namin yung depensa kasi depensa talaga yung magdadala sa ‘min.”