Apr 15, 2019

With the E-Painters holding a 2-0 lead, Hotshots feel the heat going into Game 3

It's no-brainer, Magnolia Pambansang Manok's idea now is to exert its best effort to win Game Three then rest their weary bodies in the league's Lenten breather.

Whatever is left in their energy tank they must bring everything in Game Three Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum or they would kiss their PBA Philippine Cup Finals hopes goodbye.

From their long rest, the Elasto Painters came back as a dominant force, pulling off a convincing 84-77 win in Game One and an even easier 93-80 victory in Game Two.

With their weary legs, the Hotshots have been looking to be always a step behind the E-Painters. For coach Chito Victolero's chargers have played six games in 12 nights.

Rain or Shine has obviously benefited from its No. 2 seeding in the playoffs, requiring the team to play just a game in the quarters. Magnolia, on the other hand, had to go through an exhausting three-game quarters series with the Barangay Ginebra Kings.

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"Napakinabangan nila ng husto ang No. 2 seeding nila," said the Magnolia bench chieftain.

Some help is coming Magnolia's way as the tourney takes a break from Holy Wednesday to Holy Saturday.

But the Hotshots must do their part in having to win Game Three or they would fall in a deep 0-3 hole where they could have little chance of getting out of.

For Victolero, preparation for Game Three has begun as early as the fourth quarter of Game Two when he pulled out his core players one after another with the outcome already beyond recall.

The message was: "Take some rest and be ready for the next game."

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At 0-2, the Hotshots must not be counted out. It could be recalled that they're 0-3 at the start of the tourney.

But they must regain their wits to figure out the way back once again.

They're faced with a tough task versus a ROS side that is well motivated, all pumped up and has been working on all cylinders at the moment.

James Yap and the other ROS veterans acknowledge the boost provided by their young guns.

On Sunday, Rain or Shine sprung another surprise on Magnolia, unleashing Norbert Torres and Ed Daquioag as spearheads in romping off with a second straight win.

If Javee Mocon shone brightest when they stunned the Hotshots in Game One, Torres and Daquioag were the game-changers in the second match, delivering big buckets to help the Elasto Painters pull away to leads that reached as high as 25.

Coach Caloy Garcia said he wasn't surprised that Torres and Daquioag, along with their shock troopers, are ready when called to action.

"At the start of the season, I told them to trust one another. During the eliminations, bihira namin gamitin sila Rey at Ed. We talked about it and I told them you have to be ready because every game, everybody has to come out," he said. (SB)