|Paul Lee sizes up for a wide-open deep two. PBA Media Group|
By Ivan Saldajeno
ANTIPOLO--Magnolia's bid to inch closer to a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals hit a snag when Meralco scored a 94-88 win against the team at the Ynares Center on Friday night.
[Related Story: Meralco stays in playoff hunt, cools off Magnolia]
In spite of the result, Coach Chito Victolero is still not pushing the panic button.
"Andoon pa naman kami. We have a chance," Victolero told some sportswriters after the game. "Maganda yun kaysa yun aasa kami sa ibang teams."
In fact, he lauded the Hotshots for keeping in step with the Bolts despite the breaks of the game not favoring them that much.
"We did our best effort. Yung breaks lang nung game, talagang di napunta sa amin like yung talbog ng bola, mga last-second shots na pumapasok sa kanila. Talo kami sa breaks. Yung mga 50-50 balls, halos nandoon naman kami, pero yung mga kailangan naming i-convert, di namin nako-convert. Pero I'm very happy pa rin. Kahit papaano, nakadikit kami, and we have a chance to win in the end. Pero napunta sa Meralco," Victolero further said.
The road to the Top 4 finish in the elimination round, however, will take a tougher road as Magnolia will play two games in three nights, next Friday against TNT back at the said venue and on Oct. 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City against Ginebra in a battle that could decide the top seed in the next round.
"Kailangan lang namin siguro mag-prepare nang mas maganda dito sa next two games namin. They're back-to-backs games. Medyo mahirap," Victolero described what the Hotshots' lookahead to their final two elimination round games will look like.
But his approach will be gradual.
"I think makapanalo kami ng isa, siguro andoon na kami sa Top 4, but the goal is to win both games.... Kailangan mo lang sigurong paghandaan muna yung Talk 'n Text. One game at a time lang," Victolero concluded.
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