Early Governors’ Cup exit a learning experience for Magnolia, says Chito Victolero

After barging into the semifinal round of PBA Season 47’s first two conferences, Magnolia fell short this time around and was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the season-ending Governors’ Cup by a determined Meralco squad.

The Bolts and the Hotshots finished the eliminations with identical 7-4 records but the MVP-owned franchise got the upper hand via a twice-to-beat advantage due to a superior quotient.

The 2014 PBA Grand Slam champs were actually on the way to forcing a winner-take-all Game 2 but lightning struck twice in the form of an Aaron Black jumper which sent the game into OT and successive triples by Chris Newsome, Bong Quinto and KJ McDaniels in the extra period which sealed the fate of the Chito Victolero-mentored team.

“We have the chance to win. And the learning lesson is, it’s not over until it’s over. It happened to us before, and it happened to us again. So kailangan lang ng i-remind ng i-remind sa kanila that we have to always finish strong,” said Victolero.

“We’ll just try to heal the wounds, the pain, everything. Masakit to everyone, it’s really painful because we have a chance. But again, this is basketball,” added the 1-time PBA champion mentor.

“Hopefully, everyone learned from it. And we’ll comeback strong.”

It was the first time in three years that the Magnolia franchise failed to enter the Finals in a single season.

“We have two semifinals stints and one quarterfinals. We didn’t miss the playoffs, but again ang pinag-uusapan natin dito is going to the finals,” quipped Victolero on his team’s below par performance.

“But now we missed the finals in three conferences,” he added.

Magnolia last fought for the title during the 2021 Philippine Cup and lost in 5 games to TNT. They defeated Rain or Shine in the quarters and Meralco in the semis before losing badly to the Tropang Giga in the championship round.

As per Victolero, the Hotshots will take a three-week break and resume practices by the third week of April in preparation for the league’s pre-season tournament.

“Hopefully, we get one (finals and championship) next season. At least one,” said the former PBA player.

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