Pressure on Magnolia eased after loss to Rain or Shine, admits Chito Victolero

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero is ready to move forward after their first defeat in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup. He sees this loss as a valuable learning experience for his team.

The Hotshots had their seven-game winning streak snapped by Rain or Shine, losing 113-110 on Saturday. The SMC-owned franchise had previously won all 11 games during the PBA on Tour exhibition series. Their last loss dates back to March 22, 2023, when they were eliminated by Meralco in the quarterfinals of the previous season’s Governors’ Cup.

Victolero acknowledges that the Hotshots had a slow start against the Elasto Painters, and he emphasizes the importance of avoiding such a flat performance against any opponent in the later stages of the conference.

Despite the defeat, Victolero finds a silver lining in the fact that it occurred during the elimination round. This gives the Hotshots ample time to make necessary adjustments as they prepare for the playoffs.

“Sabi nga nila, ‘yung law of averages na matatalo ka na, baka dumating na rin sa amin. But I don’t want to make an excuse,” said Victolero. “I have to give credit to Rain or Shine. They were prepared sa out-of-town game na ‘yun. Sabi ko nga dati we are the target. So if we are not ready to play a hundred percent, we will have a hard time kasi motivated lahat ng teams na talunin kami.”

“We came out flat sa first half. We were not ready in the first half. Malaki ‘yung kailangan naming habulin, plus the fact na Rain or Shine played very well. I think they shot almost 50 percent from three points and their import maganda ang nilaro nung first half,” he added.

Victolero, on the other hand, acknowledged that the team’s pressure has diminished as the Hotshots have not suffered any losses for several months.

“Actually, maraming nang naghihintay na matalo na kami,” said Victolero in jest. “Laging pinag-uusapan ‘yun nung preseason and this conference also. But of course, hindi naman mawawala ‘yun.

“At least, kahit papaano, na-ano na rin ‘yung pressure. Ang positive lang doon, we don’t want it to happen in the playoffs ‘yung law of averages,” stressed the one-time PBA champion mentor.

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