After dusting off the defending champions, Hotshots aren't about to take Dyip lightly
Knowing they’re in no way out of the woods yet, Magnolia is hoping to stay on an even keel when it goes up against a winless, but interestingly dangerous Terrafirma side in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Hotshots, coming off an impressive victory over defending champion Barangay Ginebra, will take its spotless 3-0 card against the Dyip who, despite dropping their first two matches, have earned praises for their talented young crew.
“We’ll have the proper mindset and respect [in place]. We prepared hard for this game, just like how we did with our previous ones,” Chito Victolero told the Inquirer on the eve of the match.
It was faithful to his remarks last Sunday night, where he vowed to never slip into complacency as he and his wards have their eyes fixed on the “ultimate goal.”
“We’ll [try] to execute on both ends of the floor, with our defense and rebounding being key factors for this game,” he went on.
Painters seek to rebound
Execution will also be the name of the game for both Rain or Shine and Ginebra, who are in dire need of bounce-back victories against different foes later in the day.
The Painters, who slid to No. 3, shoot for a quick turnaround following Wednesday’s horrendous outing against Alaska where they were held to just 48 points—the second lowest output of all-time in the league.
The Gin Kings, meanwhile, hope to pounce on a dejected NorthPort squad reeling from a narrow loss to San Miguel Beer.
Coach Chris Gavina, who commandeered Rain or Shine to three straight victories to be the surprise early leaders, hopes a tweak in personnel helps do the trick.
The Painters on Thursday elevated 3×3 player Franky Johnson, replacing burly sophomore Prince Rivero ahead of the clash against TNT, which is also looking to unveil No. 4 draft pick Mikey Williams in the 3 p.m. contest.
Kings, Greg clash
It remains uncertain, however, how Chot Reyes intends to use Williams, especially after underscoring the importance of integrating players into the Tropang Giga’s “scheme of things.”
But the champion coach, who punctuated his comeback with a victory, is drawing optimism from William’s familiarity with TNT’s ways.
“When he was abroad, we sent him a lot of our materials. Our drills, our practices. He knows them conceptually. He knows it in his mind,” he said.
No strangers to slow starts, Tim Cone and the crowd darlings, on the other hand, are looking to improve their 1-2 slate, but standing in the way are the Batang Pier, now reinforced by former Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter.
Slaughter had 23 points and 17 rebounds in the loss to the Beermen, his debut with Batang Pier, and should spice the 6 p.m. duel.