Magnolia def Phoenix, 82-78 [PBA S48 Comm’s Cup SF G2 | Jan. 26, 2024]

After winning a close game in the first match of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals against Phoenix Super LPG, Magnolia is aware that the upcoming matches will be more challenging and demanding.

The Fuel Masters are expected to put forth their best effort on Friday to prevent the Hotshots from taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Alam namin na walang magiging madali sa series na ito at lalong magiging mahirap sa mga susunod na games,” said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero moments after his side pulled off an 82-79 squeaker last Wednesday.

The scheduled time for Game 2 is 8 p.m.

“We just won a game so obviously they’re gonna do all they can to win the next one,” echoed Hotshots import Tyler Bey, who led the Hotshots’ charge with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

“It’s a big game, the second game, so first we’ve gotta go with the drawing board, do better, learn from today, you know, just learn from our mistakes,” added Bey.

The manner in which his team was able to keep pace with the heavily favored Magnolia until the final moments of the game boosts the confidence of Phoenix coach Jamike Jarin. He assured that with some minor adjustments, they will perform even better.

The Fuel Masters performed well in the opener.

They limited their top-ranked opponents to 31-of-79 shooting from the field, including 4-of-25 from long-range, forced them into 16 turnovers, and recorded nine steals.

Phoenix had a difficult time on the court, shooting 26-of-70 and making 21 mistakes before being unable to stop Magnolia in the final 87 seconds, which ultimately made the difference.

The game ended with a final score when Bey completed a three-point play with an assist from Paul Lee and split his charities off Ian Sangalang’s offensive rebound in the last 4.6 seconds.

Victolero acknowledges the need for a improved game plan and attitude. He emphasizes the importance of having the right mindset. It won’t be an easy series for the team. They must work hard and grind for every possession.

Victolero stated that in addition to restricting Phoenix import Johnathan Williams, his defensive strategies also focus on containing Jason Perkins and RJ Jazul. In the first game, Williams only scored 11 points, while Perkins scored 25 points and Jazul scored 13 points to compensate.

“We just need to limit his activity on the floor, limit his offensive rebounding and contribution on the offensive end,” said Victolero of Williams.

“But we need also to have a defensive gameplan on Perkins. Perkins did a good job today of helping their import. We need to watch the film, on how we can contain Perkins. And Jazul also. Let’s see the adjustments tomorrow.”

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