The Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots is scheduled for a head-to-head game against the Meralco Bolts at 6:45 PM on February 26, 2023 live from the Smart Araneta Coliseum at Quezon City, Metro Manila.
The Hotshots have indeed gained momentum as they’re currently enjoying their four-game winning streak and plans of no slowing down soon while the Bolts’ eyes of firing up their own successive victories, especially since playoffs is now around the corner.
The Magnolia Hotshots and the Meralco Bolts will break their deadlock on Sunday as they face off in the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Both teams are tied for sixth place with a 4-3 record, and they are determined to stay within striking distance of the leaders as they enter the home stretch of the tournament. The winner of this game will stay right behind the frontrunners, while the loser will essentially bow out of the race for the Top 4 which carries a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The Hotshots have made an amazing turnaround from a 0-3 start in the tournament, going 4-0 with import replacement Antonio Hester. Coach Chito Victolero is optimistic that his team will press on and sustain their searing drive, saying, “Stay positive lang kami, we try to handle things positively and make sure to learn from our mistakes.” He also reminded his team to battle for each possession and work hard to avoid becoming complacent.
On the other hand, the Bolts have been on an up-and-down ride in the tournament, catching up with the Hotshots with a 114-98 win over the NLEX Road Warriors in their last game. Meralco coach Norman Black is confident that his team will have a chance of a good finish in the elims if they can be more consistent in doing what they need to do. “We just got to keep it up. Except for a few teams that are pulling away, everybody else is really tooth and nail trying to make the playoffs,” said Black. “We’re one of those teams right now. We’re in the middle of the pack but we played the teams above us so we do have a chance of possibly moving up in the standings.”
Black also praised his players for their concerted effort in their win over the Road Warriors, particularly KJ McDaniels and Allein Maliksi. McDaniels collected 31 points and 21 rebounds, while Maliksi fired away 19 points spiked by four triples. “At the end, we’re able to get some stops, Allein hit some big shots for us, and KJ was really a dominant player in the paint, which really helped us,” said Black.
Both teams are expected to put up a good fight in their deadlock-breaker game on Sunday. It will be a battle of determination and consistency, as both teams aim to stay in the running for the Top 4 spot. The game promises to be a thrilling one, and fans are eagerly looking forward to it.