EVEN Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero couldn't figure out why the Hotshots are struggling to close out games of late. The Hotshots were nowhere close from the team that battled back from a 17-point deficit and went on to beat the Meralco Bolts, 94-80, in Game 1 of their PBA Governors' Cup semifinals series.
"We're executing well, especially down the stretch. Now, I don't know..." observed Victolero, hoping his troops will regain their senses in time to save their season.
The Hotshots appeared to have lost the sense of urgency and forgot how to defend in Games 2 and 3, in the process found themselves trailing the Bolts 1-2 in the best-of-five-series.
Victolero refused to blame anyone for their 101-95 loss on Sunday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City, insisting all the team needs is to work collectively and get everybody involved.
No doubt Magnolia missed the production of Paul Lee, struggling lately with a calf injury he sustained before the series. Lee managed a combined 15 points in Games 2 and 3.
"Kailangan lang namin sigurong itakbo pa yung opensa para lalong ma-involve lahat -- not only Paul, not only Calvin, but the other guys also," Victolero noted.
But most of all, Victolero emphasized, the Hotshots must execute well on defense.
"We're always in foul trouble. We need to improve our defense because right now, they (Bolts) have a lot of points of attack. We also need to execute consistently on offense. We need to be more patient," he said.
The series shifts to the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday. Game 4 is set 6 p.m. If necessary, Game 5 will be played on Sunday.
Sponsored content:" We're down, but we're not out. We just have to grind again the next game. Just try to prepare hard and hopefully execute well." (JB)
(Photo credits to: PBA)