The Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok is scheduled for a best-of-seven semi-finals series against the NLEX Road Warriors at 7:00 P.M. on March 12, 2018 live from the Mall of Asia Arena.
The league’s number two seed will attempt to even their series at 1-1 against the surging Road Warriors when the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup semis resumes at the Mall of Asia Arena this evening.
Losing Game 1 in any playoff series is big but for coach Chito Victolero and his entire Magnolia ball-club losing a defensive player like Marc Pingris can dictate its semi-finals series fate. Pingris left the game after he injured his knee, he was pulled out from the floors of the Smart Araneta Coliseum using a stretcher with 4:39 left in the final quarter.
“It should be harder without Ping, but this is the time for the other guys to step up,” stated Victolero.
Peter Jun Simon who is known as one of the closest friend of Pingris in the PBA dropped 20 points in Game 1 and that’s all coming off the bench. Simon believes that his squad still in a good position on making it to the All-Filipino conference championship round.
“Pang-fourth time na namin to sa semis kaya lahat ng motivation siguro gamitin na namin kasi sobrang hungry na din kaming makadating ng finals ulit,” said Simon.
The last time that Magnolia or known then as the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers went on a Finals series was wayback in 2014 PBA Governors’ Cup. That was their most successful season after winning a grand slam under head coach Tim Cone.
For the Road Warriors on the other hand, coach Yeng Guiao’s success on pinning down Paul Lee resulted them a win. Lee was just limited to eight points and shoots thirty percent from the field. Guiao utilized Kenneth Ighalo, Alex Mallari and Kevin Alas to contain his ace player back in their Rain or Shine Elasto Painters days.
Guiao is expecting that Lee will try to recover from Game 1 below average performance and his team will be ready for it.
“I know Paul, so next game alam kong babawi siya so kailangan maghanda ulit kami,” added Guiao.