MANILA, Philippines — “Remembering” has been an integral part of the Star Hotshots in this conference.
When they were beaten by Alaska in the elimination, coach Chito Victolero shared that all his crew had to do was to remember playing aggressive.
The result? The Hotshots has since won four straight games.
When they played against the Phoenix in the qurarterfinals—the only club that beat the defending champion San Miguel in the opening round—the mentor bared that he only asked his wards to remember putting in work on defense.
The result? They almost replicated their massive first-round blowout of the Fuel Masters.
And now with their semifinal series with Barangay Ginebra knotted at 2-2, the team’s glue guy believes the squad should again look back: This time, on their previous form—the one that whipped foes by double-digits.
The one that dealt gut punches against the Kings in the first two games. The ones who have a massive chip on their shoulders. The ones who collected seven straight victories.
“I promise, ibang Star Hotshots makikita nila,” Marc Pingris said after Wednesday night’s edition of the Star team became victims to their own emotions, and eventually, a narrow loss.“Talagang gabi nila. Mainit din si Jervy Cruz, talagang 'di namin inexpect na gagawa siya ng ganung score. Wala kaming magawa.”
Pingris also noted that he would want the team to remember what their coach had been telling them: That nobody is counting on them to reach this stage.
“Sinasabi niya sa [dugout], sino ba namang nag-expect na makapasok kami sa semis na ‘to?” he shared. “‘Alam ko mabigat,’ sabi niya. ‘Ganun din nararamdaman ko, pero kailangan nating pakawalan. I-let go ‘yan para makafocus tayo sa next game.’”
On Thursday, Pingris, Allein Maliksi were fined for “comments detrimental to the league.” Rookie guard Jio Jalalon was sanctioned for “punching” Ginebra guard Solomon Mercado. All were byproducts of a tussle that saw emotions flare—especially on the Star’s side.
Change couldn’t come on a better moment for the Hotshots if Pingris keeps up on his promise.
The result? We’ll find out at 7 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.