Magnolia Hotshots is bracing for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings’ fight back in the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup’s edition of “Manila Clasico” tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
This will be the first time the two teams are facing each other since their gruelling semifinals series in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup, which was won by eventual champions’ Hotshots.
Hotshots veteran Paul Lee said that they are expecting the Kings to be aggressive but they will bank on the hot streak after handily winning their last two matches against Alaska Aces and Columbian Dyip.
“It’s gonna be a good battle. Siyempre feeling ko gusto nila bumawi. Lagi ko sinasabi, kailangan lang namin maging ready. Gusto namin na tumaas standing namin, so kailangan ready kami,” Lee said.
“Lagi kami nire-remind na lahat ng panalo namin balewala kung matatalo kami sa Sunday. We need to be ready,” he added. “Good for us na we’re peaking at the right time.”
The former PBA Rookie of the Year awardee further said: “Hopefully lang, huwag maputol ‘yung streak namin dito. We need to keep working hard.”
The Hotshots currently totes a 3-4 win-loss slate and will need to stack up wins against future foes NorthPort Batang Pier, Blackwater Elite and NLEX Road Warriors to reach the next round.
NLEX Road Warriors are hoping that their lopsided win over Alaska Aces last Wednesday is the turning point following an inconsistent start in the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup.
Road Warriors head coach Joseller “Yeng” Guiao said that their 91-70 win over the unpredictable Aces is a huge boost for their confidence after losing in its two previous games.
“This game could be a good sign because we need to win the next three games, actually,” Guiao said. “So we need this confidence boost to be able to have a chance at doing that.”
“We were probably distracted as a team from all the things going on around us in the previous game,” he added. “This (win) could be a sign that we’re getting back our focus and this is a good sign for us in general.”
All is not lost for the Road Warriors when it comes to their playoffs aspirations as their victory climbed them to a tie for ninth place with the Meralco Bolts (3-5), just one game behind the Columbian Dyip (4-6).
Road Warriors, however, needs to double time their work as their final three games were against tough opponents in Blackwater Elite, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings and Magnolia Hotshots./PN