by Waylon Galvez
If there’s a positive side to Magnolia’s narrow title loss to sister squad San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup finals, it’s the maturity level reached by the runner-up team during the series that went the full route.
Head coach Chito Victolero feels the team “was one or two possessions away from winning the title.”
“We were almost there,” he said, still reeling from the Game 7 defeat.
With the Commissioner’s Cup days from its formal opening, Victolero believes that display of maturity can help them perform much better in the import-laden conference.
“I hope we can carry that maturity in the Commissioner’s Cup. We have a few days rest, then we will go back to work to prepare for the second conference.”
Besides, Magnolia was given little chance at the start of the all-Filipino title showdown against a powerhouse SMB crew led by five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.
However, the Hotshots surprised many when it stunned SMB with a 99-94 victory in Game 1 of the finals, and when it took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series following an 88-86 win in Game 5 on a buzzer-beating jumper by Mark Barroca.
San Miguel forced a do-or-die Game 7 with a 98-86 win in Game 6.