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Victolero plays down spat with Almazan

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero downplayed the spat he had with Meralco’s Raymond Almazan late in the opening salvo of their 2021 PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal series, Sunday afternoon.

The two had a bit of an exchange with 1:48 left in the game and with the Hotshots ahead by double digits, 85-74. Their respective teams were trying to pacify the situation with, of course, the help of the referees.

Both were assessed with technical fouls each as a result.

But while the infractions were being announced, Almazan calmly approached the bench tactician and the two talked things over. And ultimately, cooler heads prevailed as the 6-foot-8 slotman walked away.

“Medyo nagkaroon lang kami ng konting verbal interaction with Raymond. But we’re okay,” Victolero said moments after their 88-79 win at the DHVSU Gym.

“We’ll learn from that. Raymond learned also from that. But we’re okay.”

Such an incident was just an example of how heated Game One went – there was even a little commotion involving Bolts guard Allein Maliksi and someone from Magnolia. However, it wasn’t clear who exactly that was.

Victolero said that it’s all part of the game.

“It’s part of the game. ‘Di naman pwede mawala ‘yon,” said the 2018 Coach of the Year, himself a former player. “It’s part of the series, part of being emotional.

“But wala naman ‘yon. Ano lang sa laro ‘yan.”

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

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