IF THERE is one coach who can readily see the positives following a bitter loss, it is Yeng Guiao.
Already thinking ahead, Hotshots coach Chito Victolero refused to be carried away by his charges' fine bounce-back game from an 87-88 loss in the series opener just two days before.
"In a way, it's good because it releases some of the pressure (off us)," said the grizzled tactician, referring to the 84-99 drubbing his NLEX squad received from Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok last Monday.
Guiao even maintained his Road Warriors would be good to go anew when they tangle with the Hotshots Wednesday in Game 3 of their PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"I expect us to be recharged in Game 3," stated Guiao.
Magnolia's win, fashioned despite an acute shortage in its rotation, evened up the best-of-seven series at one game apiece and raised the possibility Wednesday's game could be a pivotal one.
"We just tied the series," said Victolero of the win fashioned despite the absence of Marc Pingris (ACL) and Justin Melton (hamstring). Even Mark Barroca was not 100 percent due to a sprain.
Good thing Paul Lee atoned from a dismal Game 1 performance, Ian Sangalang continued playing steady and the other Hotshots did not lack in the help department as second-ranked Magnolia took control right in the opening quarter and even posted a 98-80 lead en route to dealing sixth-seed NLEX its first loss in the playoffs.
"We adjusted a little bit on our defense and we tried to move the ball," related Victolero.
"We're looking for some good shots na hindi namin nagawa noong Game 1. Also, we did a good job on defending their guards, especially doon sa mga guards nila na nag-ke-create."
Victolero was specifically referring to Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas, who combined for only 15 points and mostly were reduced to passers by Jio Jalalon and Barroca.
Victolero said it's just a matter of his team keeping up the pressure to keep NLEX down.
"I think we just need to focus more sa strength namin, which is defense," he said.
"We know it's only a one-day break, one-day preparation for Game 3, but we need to sustain kung ano man ang ginawa namin ngayon in terms of energy, aggressiveness and execution."
Not lacking in positivity is Guiao. "I still feel good about our series," he stated.
"I expect it to be a long one," Guiao added, before offering what his team must do to prevent Magnolia from going 35-of-70 from the field like it did in Game 2.
"We need to regain our defensive intensity, the kind we displayed in Game 1," said the seven-time champion coach.
Guiao also easily shrugged off his team's 31-of-74 shooting from the field. "We had an off- night offensively, partly due to their defense, but also because we were due for an off night." (NC)