The guard crew of Magnolia Pambansang Manok has embraced the thought that the Magnolia-Alaska Milk would be decided in the backcourt.
As such, Mark Barroca and his fellow Magnolia backcourt operators exerted tremendous effort in the series opener, and they intend to do the same in Game Two as the Hotshots seek to establish full command against the Aces in their PBA Governors Cup title showdown.
"Sabi nila even sa imports at ganoon din sa frontcourt. Magkakatalo sa backcourt, kaya gusto namin na at least i-match ang energy at effort ng guards nila," said Barroca ahead of Game Two set at 7 p.m. Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"Kilala sila sa pressure defense nila. Pero hindi maganda ang depensa nila (in Game One) at medyo maganda ang opensa namin. Pwedeng magbago yan kaya kailangan laging handa kami," Barroca also said.
Alaska coach Alex Compton, however, has taken to task not just their guards but the whole team, ruing their lack of effort in their 84-100 loss Wednesday over at the MOA Arena.
"It's been our trademark. (But in Game One), I think we gave only 85 percent and Magnolia 100 percent," said Compton, also ruing their numerous "fundamental breakdowns."
Compton said they couldn't cite being rusty from the long break as an excuse.
"Eh bakit sila ang ganda ng nilaro nila? We don't have any excuse," said Compton.
"We did look very rusty. Hopefully, we'll be fresher Friday. I've got to tell our guys we're playing the team that's playing the best basketball team in the league right now," he added.
Magnolia pounded and pummeled the Alaska side that came out sluggishly from a 17-day breather, and fashioned out the lopsided 16-point triumph.
Romeo Travis put in a game-high 29 points, Barroca, Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang added double-digit outputs while Jio Jalalon came up with a superb all-around game with 12 rebounds, nine assists and seven markers to lead the Hotshots against the Alaska side that struggled all night to find rhythm.
Somehow, Compton is thankful they experienced what they experienced in Game One.
"Maybe, we need that experience to know the truth - that we're up against the team that at its best right now," said Compton.
The Hotshots have no intention of slowing down.
"Mindset pa rin namin na it would always be a dogfight and grind-out battle. We'll try to be ready physically and mentally," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.
Obviously, the Hotshots we're the better prepared team Wednesday as they were seemingly always a step ahead of the Aces.
They exploded from the starting block and refused to slow down in a dominant showing.(SB)