Chito Victolero disappointed as another promising Magnolia run falls short

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero struggled to articulate his emotions as his team fell short of clinching the coveted PBA championship, extending their five-year title drought.

Despite the Hotshots’ valiant efforts and promising performances throughout the season, victory remained just out of reach.

“We proved that we can challenge them and I think yun yung medyo nakakaano lang, nakaka-disappoint or nakaka-ano ba yung tawag na word? Hindi ko masabi kung ano,” said Victolero shortly after their 2-point loss in Game 6.

Their dominant showing in the PBA on Tour and impressive top seed finish in the eliminations had set the stage for a potential title triumph. However, their hopes were dashed by a resilient San Miguel Beermen squad that proved to be a formidable opponent.

In a pivotal Game 6 that seemed destined to force a Game 7 showdown, Magnolia faltered in the face of a late-game surge by San Miguel. Despite holding an 11-point lead fueled by Paul Lee’s heroics, the Hotshots found themselves unable to counter the Beermen’s barrage of three-pointers down the stretch.

“But yun nga, we were one rebound away, or one stop away, or one execution on offense away from the Game 7. Maybe we just need to learn yung how to finish the game, maybe next time, on how to become composed when the pressure is here,” said Victolero.

Jericho Cruz and Chris Ross drained crucial shots from beyond the arc, shifting momentum in favor of San Miguel. The final blow came from CJ Perez, crowned Finals MVP, whose three-pointer sealed Magnolia’s fate and solidified San Miguel’s championship aspirations.

While disappointment loomed over Magnolia’s camp, Victolero emphasized that there was no shame in their performance. The team had fought bravely and showcased resilience throughout their playoff journey, leaving behind a legacy of determination and grit despite falling short of ultimate glory once again.

“We lost but I’m still proud of my players. We’re still there until the end of the game, I’m proud of the effort. We just need to rest and let’s bounce back hard in the next conference.”

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