• Magnolia, NLEX battle for 2-1 SEMIS lead


    Magnolia and Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) chase for a 2-1 cushion tonight when they clash in Game 3 of the best-of-seven semifinals series of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

    The game is set at 7 p.m.

    After a subpar performance in Game 1, Paul Lee came out with 27 points to power Magnolia’s 99-84 win and knot the series to 1-1 last Monday without veteran Jean Marc Pingris who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury on his left knee in Game 1 last Saturday.

    Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said they should maintain a proper mindset and do a little bit of adjustments on offense and defense to keep up the momentum heading to Game 3.

    NLEX’ Kiefer Ravena drives against Magnolia’s Ian Sangalan during the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    “We only have one day short preparation so we need to sustain what we’re doing right. What important is we need to have that proper mindset because the players are getting tired physically and mentally since the series is getting tougher and longer,” said Victolero.

    Victolero also expects NLEX veteran coach Yeng Guiao to make his move in Game 3.

    “We know coach Yeng (Guiao) he is a veteran coach. He will also adjust so we have to prepare for it.”

    Without Pingris, Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis and Rodney Brondial are going to double their effort anew in the shaded lane to deny the frontline of the Road Warriors headed by Jay-R Quinahan, Michael Miranda, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Raul Soyud and veteran Paul Asi Taulava.

    Sangalang dominated the paint with 18 points in Game 2.

    After winning Game 1 (88-87) on Saturday, NLEX found themselves struggling on the Hotshots’ suffocating defense in the next game though and lost. Despite the setback that tied the series, Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao said he wasn’t feel frustrated about it.

    “Even we lost, I don’t feel that badly about it. I guess winning seven out of our last eight (games) before our game takes a toll on you,” said Guiao, who only got a combined 15 points from rookie Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas in Game 2. “It’s 1-1 I’m sure we can play better and sharper in the next game.”

    The longer the series goes, the better for Guiao to put a lot of pressure on the battle-scarred Magnolia team.

    Ravena, for his part, said that they must move on and forget what transpired in the last game.

    “We learned from this, rest and forget about this (Game 2) and be ready on Wednesday,” he said.


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