Victolero rues long layoff for Magnolia

Victolero rues long layoff for Magnolia

Ian Sangalang and the rest of the Hotshots bled for their points. PBA Media Group
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY — Traditionally, teams which are fresh from playing in the finals of the previous Philippine Basketball Association conference get a longer break.

They can only make their debut in the next tournament somewhere at the middle of it.

That is the case for both Magnolia and Alaska, which both played in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.

The Hotshots and the Aces only got to play in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup by Feb. 3, three weeks after it began on Jan. 13.

Both teams’ finals hangover was evident when they struggled and eventually lost in their season openers.

Alaska quickly bounced back by blasting Columbian on Wednesday night.

However, Magnolia’s woes continued on Sunday night after San Miguel gave them a mauling of its own.

Chito Victolero could not help but worry about the 0-2 start of the Hotshots, who are fresh from winning a championship last conference.

“Yung timing namin, sobrang wala pa,” the Magnolia head coach said at the Smart Araneta Coliseum after the loss.

Worse, they took on the defending champions, who played their seventh game this conference.

“Ang problema, lahat ng kalaban namin, parang nakakuha na ng bwelo. Yung San Miguel, right now, ito ang kanilang pinakamagandang game,” he rued.

He then thought the long layoff did not favor Magnolla that much.

“Disadvantage talaga,” Victolero further rued.

But he added, “Wala kaming magagawa dahil syempre the players need to rest also kasi sobrang pagod din sila.”

And if the long preseason is not enough, after a Wednesday night game against the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters, the Hotshots will have another long break thanks to Mark Barroca and Gilas’ campaign in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

“Next game namin, March 2 na uli,” he added. “Kukuha na naman kami ng timing.”

Still, he insisted, “Di pwedeng excuse eh. Kailangan naming trabahuin. Di pa naman kami nagpa-panic, but we need to have that sense of urgency.”

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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