GETTING its legs back would be Magnolia's primary concern when it squares off with TNT anew Friday in Game 2 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Giga handily won the best-of-seven series opener, 108-96, just last Wednesday and coach Chot Reyes said he expects the Hotshots to bounce back stronger and that his team is bracing for a long war.
Game time is 6 p.m.
For Magnolia to first tie the series, coach Chito Victolero on Thursday said his Hotshots must be able to re-gather their legs under them in order to avoid falling into a deeper hole.
"We need to have our legs back para kahit papaano maka-compete kami," stated Victolero.
"We had a hard time, of course, coming off a grueling series against NLEX. That is also a factor pero ayaw naming gawing excuse iyon. Kasi we know na sunod-sunod games dito sa playoffs. We have to set that aside and improve our mindset na, eto na iyon, eh," added Victolero.
"Importante malampasan namin fatigue factor. Kailangan nasa isip namin na makaka-compete kami even if we're tired."
The one-time Coach of the Year was referring to the fact that his side was coming off just a three days' rest following a best-of-three quarterfinal series against NLEX that went the full route and ended only in a 112-106 overtime win.
In contrast, TNT had the benefit of a full week's rest after easily dispatching Converge, 116-95, in their own quarterfinals pairing.
The difference was clearly seen in the semis opener, when the Tropang Giga raced to an early 15-5 lead, took the half at 54-37 and stretched the difference to a high of 84-60.
"May factor na siguro na medyo pagod, kasi nga 'yung core ng team have played heavy minutes, lalo na sa quarterfinals. Kita naman na a little bit slow reaction sa depensa. Then sa rebounding medyo late kami," noted Victolero, adding the more important thing for his side than the video clips and drawing board right now are the more unheralded members of the Hotshots' staff.
"Adjustment is minimal, mas importante recovery kaya 'yung mga PT's (physical therapists), masahista ang important sa amin ngayon. Kasi we need those legs para maibalik namin 'yung aming defensive intensity," said Victolero.
"Our identity is our defense. Iyon ang nagdala sa amin dito so we just need to go back to our strength. But, of course, bago ka mabakalik doon kailangan mo ng materyales na magagawa ang gusto mong gawin. Sunod na sa legs 'yung our will, our heart na lalaban kami." (NC)