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Resilience key as Magnolia silences sweep talk

Chito Victolero lauded the resilience Magnolia has shown to silence the sweep talk in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

The Hotshots on Friday night evened the best-of-7 championship series at two games apiece after scoring a 96-85 victory over San Miguel.

“Actually, that’s one of our key factors, the resiliency of the team,” the one-time Coach of the Year offered postgame at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Fans online were predicting the title bout to end in a sweep after Magnolia – the top-seeded crew entering the playoffs – absorbed a harsh 109-85 beatdown in Game 2 last Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay and fell to a 0-2 hole.

But they came out strong in Game 3 last Wednesday, taking control of the game early. They then leaned on Paul Lee and Aris Dionisio in the endgame to register the 88-80 win and avoid being in a much more dangerous position.

2023-24-PBA-Commissioners-Cup-Finals-Game-4-Magnolia-vs-San-Miguel-Mark-Barroca Resilience key as Magnolia silences sweep talk Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

Lee came through once more on Friday, nailing a long trifecta near the logo to help out in a telling 17-4 rally from a 79-all deadlock.

His team eventually left the Big Dome with the 11-point victory to ultimately tie the series.

Not only did they reduce the Finals to a virtual best-of-3 but Magnolia has now taken down twice a team that went on a hot 11-game winning streak.

Victolero earlier said that the two-day rest before Game 3 allowed the whole crew to recharge and recalibrate.

However, that may have helped them in more ways than one now that they have won consecutively anew.

It has seemingly helped the Hotshots regain their groove on defense, proof of which was the way they held Bennie Boatwright to a conference-low 16 points on 16 attempts in Game 4. The 27-year-old also committed six turnovers.

#ReadMore  PBA: San Miguel survives late-game drama, edges Ginebra in thrilling semis opener

“I told them last game that the two-day rest gave us good preparation. We were tired coming off that semis series against Phoenix. But that two-day rest gave us fresh legs, fresh minds,” said Victolero. “It helped us a lot.”

Now, the focus is on Game 5 on Sunday, and confidence has now sky-rocketed within a team that’s hungry to end a six-year title drought.

“Right now, we just need to dig deep. We just need to grind out this Game 5 so we can have another two-day rest,” said Victolero. “But again, this is not over. But we like our chances. We like our chances now.”

Written By

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

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