MAGNOLIA Ang Pambansang Manok was looking for another upper to add steam to its drive to the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.
"I think it's all about our desire and will to win," said Victolero.
Along came a familiar customer in Columbian.
Pity the Dyip, who got ran over by the Hotshots 109-83 Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum for the latter's second straight win that gave them a clearer view of a cherished objective.
Ian Sangalang led a balanced attack with 16 points while the defensive intensity coach Chito Victolero wanted was on full display as Magnolia scored a more emphatic follow-up to its 103-87 drubbing of Alaska last Saturday.
After improving to a 3-4 record, the Hotshots now have a brighter chances of gaining inclusion among the eight teams advancing to the quarterfinals. Not bad at all for the same team that lost its first three games and was at 1-4 just last week.
"Before this game pinag-usapan namin importance ng game na ito. Columbian kasi is also gunning for the playoffs, kami ganoon din. So importante iyung effort saka aggressiveness na ibibigay namin for this game," added Victolero.
"I'm very happy. Hindi lang namin na-match, na-surpass pa namin 'yung effort saka aggressiveness ng Columbian. Dinagdagan pa namin 'yung playoff mentality na nag-umpisa sa Alaska. Credit to my players. They want this game, they want to win at least para run namin to the playoffs magtuloy."
In marked the fifth straight time Columbian absorbed a shellacking from the former Purefoods franchise in the season-opening tournament. Last season alone, Magnolia won all their three meetings by an average margin of 30 points.
That trend was not reached, but it will do just fine for Victolero.
"Kahit medyo nasa hulihan pa rin (of the standings), at least iyung rhythm at defensive mindset nand'yan na," said Victolero. "Our goal was to limit Columbian under 90 points."
Rashawn McCarthy had a game-high 19 points, CJ Perez added 14 and Jackson Corpuz 12 for the Dyip, but they and the rest of the Dyip, except for a brief stretch in the third quarter, simply could not match their foes' tenacity.
In dropping to a 4-6 record and another must-win game against TNT next Friday, Columbian finished with a 31-of-80 clip from the field, compared to Magnolia's 41-of-85.
The discrepancy showed most in the third quarter after Perez's four straight points put Columbian, which trailed by 12-29 early, within 52-56.
Rodney Brondial hit a floater and Rome dela Rosa and Mark Barroca each boomed in a triple, sparking a 19-5 exchange that put the Hotshots ahead by 75-57 going to the final frame.
The difference even got stretched to a high of 109-81 before Magnolia decided to put its foot off the pedal. (NC)
Magnolia 109 - Sangalang 16, Barroca 14, Dela Rosa 12, Ramos 10 Jalalon 9 Brondial 9, Pascual 8 Reavis 7 Melton 6, Lee 6, Simon 5, Gamalinda 4, Herndon 3 Abundo 0, Calisaan 0.
Columbian 83 - McCarthy 19, Perez 14, Corpuz 12 Camson 9 Khobuntin 6 Faundo 5, Calvo 5, Kings 4, Gabriel 4 Cahilig 4 Agovida 1 Escoto 0, Cabrera 0, Cell 0 ,.
Quarters: 22-12, 48-38, 75-57, 109-83.