September 25, 2017

Star coach Chito Victolero worried fatigue may take its toll in the playoffs

Forty-eight hours after their clash Sunday, Star and NLEX mix it up again at the start of the PBA Governors Cup playoff round at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Tuesday.

Game time is at 7 p.m. with the burden of adjustment on the Road Warriors as the Hotshots pushed the right buttons in their second-half chase en route to a 101-93 victory that gave them a spot in the Top Four.

Being the fourth seeds, the Hotshots have two cracks at making the semifinals, just like top seed Meralco, No. 2 TNT KaTropa and No. 3 Barangay Ginebra.

The Hotshots, however, are determined to play their best right in the first game so as not to make it a two-game playoff.

"It's our third game in five days," said Star coach Chito Victolero, wary the effects of fatigue may take their toll on them in a long grind.

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But first, Victolero said they have to make sure of getting their mindset, play and preparation to playoff basketball.

"I need to make sure that my players are motivated enough and ready for the battle. We need to be mentally tough and physically prepared especially coming from back-to-back games," said Victolero.

For the Road Warriors, it's win or vacation time.

"We lost our defensive intensity in the second half of last game versus Star. It's something we cannot afford to do again," said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.

"We have to contain their guards better coming off the screen. Our offensive execution should be smoother and with emphasis on getting the ball to our bigs," Guiao also said.

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Everything went smoothly for the Road Warriors in the first half Sunday before the Hotshots made the right adjustments and turned things around in the second half.

The two teams actually shared fourth spot with San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine with their identical 7-4 finish. The Hotshots, the Road Warriors, the Beermen and the E-Painters finished in that order, though, upon the application of the quotient tiebreak system.