Magnolia caught off guard

Magnolia Hotshots admitted that they were caught off guard with the timely explosion of Rain or Shine Elasto Painters’ role players in Game 1 of the 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup semifinals last Friday, which was won by the latter 84-77.

While their defense was centered on former Hotshots star James Yap, Magnolia failed to put clamps on other Painters players en route to a come-from-behind win by the ROS.

Rookie Javee Mocon led the Painters role players with double-double 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Eduardo Daquioag, Rey Nambatac, Mark Borboran, Kris Rosales, Beau Belga and Jewel Ponferrada also did their part.

“We did not respect some of their guys,” said Hotshots star Paul Lee, who spent the first half of his PBA career with the Painters franchise. “Kailangan matuto kami doon, including me. Kailangan matuto kami lahat doon.”

“‘Yunyung sinasabi ko sa teammates ko. Pumutok si Mocon, si Rosales, si Nambatac,” added the former PBA Rookie of the Year. “May mga players kami na hindi napaghandaan nang mabuti.”

“We just have to bounce back. It’s a long series. Pahinga lang muna tapos prepare na sa Game 2, bawi kami sa next game. Bounce back kami,” said Lee.

Even with disappointment for failing to nail the 1-0 series lead, Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero remained positive ahead of Game 2 of the best-of-seven series tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We will be better next time. Ang importante lang dito, mapa-haba naminyung series,” said Victolero, who is aiming to steer the Hotshots to its second straight PBA title after ruling the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup last December.


Tough battle awaits Negrense boxer Merlito Sabillo when he makes his ring return this morning against Mexican slugger Daniel Valladares at the latter’s home turf at Monterrey, Mexico.

Not only will the Toboso, Negros Occidental native try to recover from back-to-back defeats last year, he also has to endure a short preparation against Valladares, who have won his last eight matches.

Sabillo told the Buzzer Beater that he was only notified that the fight will push through last Wednesday so that he has just arrived in Mexico the other day for the all-important match.

Nakapaghanda naman tayo kahit papaano dahil na-i-set naman na ‘yan before but nasabihan lang kami na tuloy ito early this week,” Sabillo said. “Sa preparation wala naman problema, ‘yun lang siguro sa climate but I will do my best.”

Sabillo, a former WBO world minimumweight champion, will enter the ring with 27-6-1 win-loss-draw ring record, including 13 stoppage wins, while Valladares has a solid 19-1-0 card, with 11 stoppage wins.

Aside from Sabillo, another Filipino fighter is featured in the fight card with Filipino Jason Canoy (27-9-2) attempting to put a dent on the boxing record of Mexican Irving Turrubiartes (19-0-0)./PN


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