After making it to the Philippine Cup finals for the third time in four years, Magnolia Hotshots coach Chito Victolero hopes that the crown will be theirs this time around.
Magnolia is seeking its 15th PBA title in franchise history and seventh All-Filipino crown.
The team, however, has been empty-handed in the Philippine Cup for the past four years, even though they have made the finals three times.
Victolero expressed his hopes for a first-ever title in the Philippine Basketball Association since handling the team in the 2017 to 2018 season.
“We are praying for this. That’s our goal,” said Victolero.
The Hotshots are set to meet the TNT Tropang Giga in a best-of-seven showdown on Wednesday.
The Tropang Giga eased the San Miguel Beermen out of the championship picture, 97-79, last Sunday in Game 7 at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Victolero said that in the four years that he has been with the team, they made it to the finals thrice, the last time was back in 2019, when they played against the Beermen.
Their experience of being in the championship during those seasons has given the Hotshots the maturity that they now possess as they seek the crown once more.
“I think, we matured a lot from that,” said Victolero.
While Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang lead the teams statistics in terms of number, it’s Calvin Abueva, who leads the overall MVP race.
Abueva, who just joined the team following a trade with the Phoenix Fuel Masters, firmed up his place in the race for the Davco-PBA Best Player of the Conference plum.
The 6’2” Abueva has an average of 34.2 statistical points since the start of the Philippine Cup.
Also known as “The Beast”, Abueva averaged a double-double of 15.2 points and 10.0 rebounds, while adding 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.1 block shots in the 19 games that he played.
Lee is the team’s no. 1 offensive player with his averages of 17 points, while the 29-year-old Sangalang, the Hotshots’ no. 3 player with an average of 16.91, sits at no. 2 with 33.7 SPs.
NorthPort guard Robert Bolick is third at no. 33.0
Rookie Mikey Williams dropped from second place to no. 4 after struggling early in TNT Tropang Giga’s semifinal series against San Miguel. He has a total of 32.0 statistical points.