Magnolia was Indeed Careful against Kia- Hotshots Rout Picanto by 47

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

A big 2nd half enabled the Hotshots to get win #2 in Philippine Cup

Heading into yesterday’s game, Chito Victolero has said that he was aiming to be careful against the Kia Picanto, even saying that the Picanto has a new coach in Ricky Dandan and has a new system which, according to Victolero himself, what makes the Picanto a dangerous team and if they weren’t careful, the Magnolia Hotshots would have gained the horrors of becoming the first team to lose to Kia this conference.
Fortunately, the Hotshots got their coach’s message, loud and clear as Magnolia made sure that Kia was nowhere near upsetting them by cruising to a 124-77 victory- the biggest winning margin so far this season.
And here’s how the Hotshots did it:

Big 2nd Half

To give credit to Ricky Dandan and his players, the Kia Picanto actually tied the score at 22 apiece at the end of the first quarter and even outscored Magnolia, 27-25 in the second quarter.
Then, things went south for the Picanto come the third quarter as Magnolia erupted for 34 points while limiting Kia to only 11 of their own. Things didn’t get better in the fourth quarter as the Hotshots continued to pound on the points, totaling 43 points while limiting the Picanto to 17 points. When you’re that careful against a winless team, you don’t stop scoring until the final buzzer and that’s what Magnolia did. 

91 Points from Magnolia’s Bench. Alone

The bench players of Chito Victolero actually outscored the ENTIRE Kia Picanto team, 91-77. In a game where Paul Lee only had 13 points while Mark Barroca had 4 points, Justin Melton led the way with 23 points while making 5 of his 6 attempts from the three-point line. Ian Sangalang added 21 points and 9 rebounds. Rookie Robert Herndon had 14 points to go along with 7 rebounds while Jio Jalalon, who made his season debut, had 11 points. 

A Good Game Overall for Magnolia

If anything, Magnolia’s dominating victory against a still winless team can be enough proof that the Hotshots are a better team now than they were during the previous teams. They shot better from the field, making 47% of their shots including a 40% outing from the three-point line. Defensively, the Hotshots stole the ball, 10 times, forced Kia to commit 25 turnovers while converting those turnovers into 37 points. They also outscored the Picanto, 30-5 in points off fast break opportunities. 

Conclusion

Although it’s only one game and it was against a winless team, teams will definitely look at Magnolia’s performance in this particular game for scouting purposes. Why? Winning by that BIG margin can only be done by a team who can score and defend well. This serves as a warning to the other teams. They shouldn’t take Magnolia for granted even though their stars are struggling. 

Magnolia Aiming to be Extra Careful with Winless Kia

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Statistically, the Magnolia Hotshots are the better team heading into their first game of the year against the team which has yet to win a single game this conference, the Kia Picanto. 
Even though they are heavily favored to handle the Picanto their 3rd straight defeat this afternoon, the Hotshots, specifically Coach Chito Victolero has said it that they are aiming to be extra careful against the still winless Picanto who have a new coach and a new system to follow. 
After all, Ricky Dandan, who took over following the resignation of Chris Gavina, aims to follow Joe Lipa’s ways of the playing conventional style of basketball. And if you’re fortunate enough to witness Joe Lipa coach during his heydays, then you know Magnolia is up against a much different team.
After bowing down to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings on Christmas Day, the Magnolia Hotshots are gunning for their second win in 3 games as the 16-day hiatus in between games hopefully enabled injured stars to heal from their injuries, specifically Jio Jalalon who has just been cleared to play. In addition to this, Victolero also hopes that PJ Simon and Marc Pingris to come out better after struggling against Ginebra. If the stars of Magnolia can pound early on, chances are Kia is already in a big trouble.
On the other hand, Ricky Dandan only had 7 practices with the Picanto after taking over at the helm. Installing a new system is among his priorities early on but according to the former head coach of the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP, his number 1 focus, for now, is to make sure that the Picanto becomes a solidified team before they can start moving forward.

Conclusion

It’s good that Chito Victolero and his boys aren’t taking the Picanto for granted as it will be a big embarrassment if they are to lose to Kia today. After all, who would want to be defeated by the worst team in the league right now?
On the other hand, a 0-2 record doesn’t really translate to the amount of talent that Kia. After all, they almost beat the NLEX Road Warriors back in their first game of the new a season. ALMOST. Having said this, Chito Victolero is definitely correct in saying that Kia is indeed, a very dangerous team. 

Lee Explodes for 30 Points in Magnolia’s Debut Win

Yep! The Lee-thal Weapon still has it

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
One team is entering the new season under a new team with the hopes of bringing something new to the league. The other team is hoping to begin anew as they were coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory.
Despite missing key players to injury, the Magnolia Hotshots were able to rely on their defense to win their first game of the season against the Alaska Aces, 108-95.

Slow Start

The game started off slow for both teams as the Alaska Aces held a 6-5 edge with 3 minutes into the game.A few possessions and fouls later, the Magnolia Hotshots were already down 17-8 as Jvee Casio knocked down a three-pointer, forcing Chito Victolero to call a timeout with under 6 minutes left in the first quarter.
After a Mark Barroca basket. Jeron Teng completed a three-point play on the other end to give the Aces a 10-point lead. The Hotshots were visibly struggling as they were also dealing with the absences of their key players due to injury. Despite their sluggish start, Magnolia was able to stay close after Paul Lee drained a buzzer-beating trey to make it 26-21 at the end of the first quarter.

The Chickens Started Flying in the Second Quarter

After all, the Magnolia Hotshots are the “Pambansang Manok”, right? Just when the Aces were beginning to re-establish a double-digit lead, the Hotshots clamped down on D and went on a scoring run to make 35-30 with 9 minutes to play in the first half. Two consecutive inside baskets have finally enabled the Hotshots to take the lead, 36-35. 
Magnolia was able to slash into the sloppy defense of Alaska as their lead extended to 8 points, at 50-42 with under 3 minutes to play in the quarter. Kyle Pascual nailed a free throw later to give the Hotshots a 10-point lead as he added another lay-up to make it 56-44. The Hotshots walked into their locker with a 10-point advantage, at 57-47- thanks to their improved field goal shooting which was 55% for the first half and their defense which limited Alaska to only 2 for 10 shooting from the three-point line. 

The Beast got Unleashed Early in the Third. BUT

Calvin Abueva scored 8 points in the opening minutes of the second quarter to bring down the deficit to 6 points only for Magnolia to bring it back to 9 on a three-point shot. An offensive putback by Ian Sangalang put the Hotshots at 70-59 with under 7 minutes to play as the Aces were slowly fading anew.
As turnovers and defensive lapses began to pile up, the Aces saw themselves down by 14 points after Mark Barroca added another inside shot. Add Alaska’s inability to get the defensive rebounds to their woes plus an injury on the big man, Vic Manuel.  Paul Lee later drained a long bomb to put Magnolia by 15 points as PJ Simon added another trey to make it 87-671 heading into the final two minutes of the third quarter.  Both teams entered the final quarter with Magnolia holding an 87-74 lead.

The Aces Tried to Come Back. Tried

The Aces got within 11 points in the first 2 minutes of the 4th quarter thanks to their aggressiveness. Carl Cruz’s basket pushed the lead down to  9 only to watch Robert Herdon complete a 3-point play to stop the Hotshots’ bleeding. Another three, this time from Justin Melton brought the lead back up to 16, at 97-81.
The lead went down to as low as 8 points with under 4 minutes to play as Alaska forced Magnolia to difficult shots and took advantage of their opportunities on the break. That was before Paul Lee hit another three to make it a double-digit lead again. From that point on, Magnolia slowly wasted away the clock as Robert Herndon added another basket to put the game away.

The Numbers: The Good and the Ugly

Paul Lee scored 30 points off the bench to go along with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Riego Gamalinda added 15 points while Ian Sangalang chipped in 13. Magnolia shot better from the field all game long, making 51% of their shot attempts while limiting Alaska to only 46% field goal shooting. Magnolia also forced 22  turnovers.
Calvin Abueva had 20 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists for the Aces but also had 5 of the 22 turnovers of Alaska. Vic Manuel also had 20 points while Jeron Teng added 16 points in his debut. 

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 108 – Lee 30, Gamalinda 15, Sangalang 13, Dela Rosa 10, Simon 9, Herndon 9, K. Pascual 9, Barroca 6, Melton 3, Ramos 2, Brondial 2.

ALASKA 95 – Abueva 20, Manuel 20, Teng 16, Casio 10, R. Pascual 7, Enciso 5, Exciminiano 5, Banchero 4, Thoss 3, J. Pascual 2, Cruz 2, Magat 1, Racal 0.

Quarter Scores:

21-26, 57-47, 87-74, 108-95.

Will Chemistry Enable Magnolia to Challenge SMB’s Supremacy?

A Wheeler’s Opinion: The Hotshots’ intact core MIGHT help them get back to the Finals. MIGHT

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

If you have been watching the PBA over the course of the last few seasons, then you knew how the Magnolia Hotshots, formerly known as the Purefoods Star Hotshots, from a championship-contending team to a semifinal-consistent team especially during the 42nd season of the PBA. While there’s nothing wrong with consistently making into the semifinal round, when your team hasn’t moved on onto the next round for a very long, long time, then something is wrong with your team.
Then, came along the blockbuster trade that sent Paul Lee to the Hotshots in exchange for James Yap who was sent to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Statistically, the Hotshots would have benefited from that deal considering the fact that James Yap is slowly entering the last few years of his career and has been down for some time now due to injuries. Paul Lee, on the other hand, has a decent first season with the Hotshots only to end it with an injury that forced him to miss the rest of the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup where the Hotshots were swept by the Meralco Bolts.
Heading into their first game tomorrow against the Alaska Aces, Head Coach Chito Victolero is facing a big problem: Jio Jalalon, Rafi Reavis and Paul Lee are still recovering from their respective injuries while the team’s energetic bunny, Marc Pingris is still resting from the surgery which removed his kidney stones a few days back. The coach has already said that he has no choice but to play with the current team that he will have come tomorrow.
However, Victolero is also hopeful that the chemistry that his team has established last season will enable them to at least, challenge the supremacy of the San Miguel Beermen. in the Philippine Cup.

Question: will a good chemistry be enough to bring the Hotshots to the promised land?

Possibly. After all, some of these players were already together when Tim Cone led them to a Grand Slam when they were still known as the San Mig Coffee Mixers a few years ago, remember? The arrival of Jio Jalalon and Paul Lee to the team have added youth and speed to the team. So what’s preventing the Hotshots from booking a return trip to the Finals? Inconsistency on both ends of the court. 

Conclusion

Maybe a name change will help ignite the Hotshots who are still undermanned as we speak. But who knows? Chito Victolero might have something hiding under his sleeves. Will they beat the Aces tomorrow? Possibly. Challenge the Beermen? That’s a different story for another time.