Star Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero | PBA Images

Victolero elated with Hotshots' momentum-building win over NLEX
Denison Rey A. Dalupang (The Philippine Star) - September 25, 2017 - 11:30am
MANILA, Philippines — Star head coach Chito Victolero noted that his team already had the proper mindset going into the game with NLEX.

The team just needed a bit of reminding midway the game.

The Hotshots mounted a second half run spearheaded by Paul Lee, Marc Barroca and import Kirstofer Acox to put the Road Warriors in the backseat en route the 101-93 victory, Sunday night at the Big Dome.

“I told my players na we just needed to win — that whatever happens in the second game, it’s not in our control,” Victolero said. “What we control is ‘yung game namin.”

“I’m proud of my players especially in the second half, nag-step up yung defense namin. Plus yung ball movement namin medyo gumanda,” the mentor said. “Noong first half kasi, we kept on doing one-on-one offense, so nung second, I told my players to move the ball.”

“Buti naka-recover kami,” he added with a sigh of relief.

Lee emptied seven of his total 15 points in the final frame to reinforce PJ Simon’s team-best 16. Acox along with Aldrech Ramos both had 14 while Barroca finished with 13. 

The victory keeps Star in Top Four contention. A chance to enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals phase also remains on the horizon with it depending on the outcome of the Meralco and San Miguel clash which is being played as of posting time.

Asked whether Victolero already has an idea on who to face in the next round, the tactician said that he pretty much pictured it. But he maintained that he’d prefer to relish on the win as it would be beneficial deep into the conference.

“I’m very happy kasi going to the playoffs, magandang momentum para sa amin itong panalo na ito,” he closed. 

Aaron Fuller proved to be NLEX’s buoy in the game with 16 points. Alex Mallari and Larry Fonacier had 13 and 12, respectively. 

NLEX’s matchup in the next phase is also yet to be determined.


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