Apr 25, 2019

Hotshots look to close out E-Painters in Game 6

The Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots have been an amazing team in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup with great recoveries shown from their 0-3 start in the tourney, from a 0-1 down versus Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals and from a 0-2 deficit against Rain or Shine in the semifinals.

What lies ahead now for the Hotshots is an opportunity to close out the semis for a second straight crack at the all-Filipino crown.

With victories in the last three games for the crucial 3-2 lead, the Hotshots are installed as the logical picks to snuff the challenge of the embattled ROS side in their 7 p.m. setto Friday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

"We will try. The goal is to win four games to win the series. We will try to close it out Friday because we know Rain or Shine can also come back," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero.

A win will also give the Hotshots a crack at back-to-back championships against the winner of the San Miguel Beer-Phoenix Pulse semis matchup.

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From their Governors Cup title run versus the Alaska Milk Aces, the Hotshots scrambled at the start in the all-Filipino but has since picked up a great momentum on victories in the last three games.

The Hotshots, exhausted from an almost daily grind from late in the elims to a three-game quarters faceoff with the Kings, seemed to have found second win in their return from the PBA Lenten breather, appearing to be always a step ahead of the E-Painters in Games Three and Four.

But Victolero said it's more about bringing back their kind of game that led to their Governors Cup championship conquest.

"We just tried to be consistent playing Magnolia Hotshots basketball which is more of a defensive mindset. We just try to focus more on our defense, bring their score under 90 points," said Victolero.

The Hotshots held the E-Painters to two points in the last three minutes in their 82-74 triumph in Game Five Wednesday night at the Cuneta Astrodome.

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Rain or Shine center Beau Belga felt the Hotshots' advantage on experience is now very much working on Magnolia's favor. ROS coach Caloy Garcia, meanwhile, lamented his players shooting so much from the outside, but couldn't hit the target.

The E-Painters, however, are not about to give up the fight.

"I still remain positive," said the ROS coach, hopeful of making their own fightback to forge a rubber match.