December 05, 2023

Sizzling Hotshots shoot for win No. 6 versus Bossing

Magnolia has not just been simply winning games but has been winning in dominant, imposing fashion - except in a come-from-behind nerve-wracker in a Manila Clasico duel with Barangay Ginebra.

And that easily makes the sizzling Hotshots as the favored side versus the Blackwater Bossing in a Wednesday face-off in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner's Cup at the PhilSports Arena.

Tip-off is at 8 p.m. with coach Chito Victolero's crew looking to hit a sixth straight win at the halfway mark of their elimination-round ride, and coach Jeff Cariaso's troops hoping to end a five-game slide.

Odds are heavy on the Hotshots who are on a hot, hot streak dating back to the preseason. They have been on a 16-0 run from the On Tour series.

And they have been blasting the opposition even with ace do-it-all forward Calvin Abueva confined on the bench with his injury.

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The Hotshots are not lacking in energy and intensity, sourcing these from numerous guys led by their combo guards Paul Lee, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon.

Last time, they were engaged in a nip-and-tuck battle with the NLEX Road Warriors when Jalalon presided over a high-energy second-half rampage leading to a runaway 99-72 victory.

"Si Jio ang spark namin. He's our energy guy. When he came in the third quarter, nag-iba yung tempo ng game," said Victolero of Jalalon, last season's Defensive Player of the Year.

Jalalon finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to complement Tyler Bey (23 points), Barroca (19 and nine assists), Lee (14) and James Laput who delivered a career-high 16 markers.

Of course, Victolero still has his concerns. On top of the head is his desire for the Hotshots to be even more consistent on the things they want to do.

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"We try to remind our prayers about playing strong and finishing stronger. Kailangan ng reminders, No. 1paalala to run our system," said Victolero.

The Bossing, meanwhile, have a job cut out for them now as they lost their next five games curiously after a triumphant season debut against the Converge FiberXers. (SB)