After posting a convincing win over NorthPort, there is no doubt that Magnolia is the hottest team in the Commissioner’s Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association right now.
Playmaker Mark Barroca said their newfound prowess and confidence can be attributed to the great chemistry their developed as a team.
Against the Batang Pier, in fact, the Hotshots were rocking and rolling, tallying 32 assists while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field to pull off a convincing 109-91 victory late Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Nick Rakocevic led the way with 26 points, 14 rebounds and four assists while Barroca had 13 markers and eight assists to underscore the Hotshots balanced offense that created more scoring opportunities en route to their fifth straight win in the early stretch of the conference.
“Coach Chito (Victolero) told us that everybody can score,” Barroca said.
“We focused more on our shot selection and our assists in the game.”
Barroca said moving the ball around did not only remove the burden off their import, but also gave their role players like Jerrick Ahanmisi, Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang to gain confidence offensively.
Ahanmisi, Jalalon and Sangalang scored 10 points apiece while stars like Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva deferred offensively with seven and six points, respectively.
“The score isn’t because of just one person. Our import isn’t a super import so the assists really benefitted everybody,” Barroca said.
Magnolia’s great chemistry will be put to an ultimate test when it battles powerhouse Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But Barroca said while they are building a winning culture for the playoffs, they don’t have to worry too much about beating the Kings.
“Our goal is the championship,” he said.
“We are building a winning culture here, and what assistant coach Jason Webb said, we have to be consistent regardless if we are up or down in the game.”
“We don’t need to motivate ourselves against Ginebra since we’re already pumped to beat them. We’re going to prepare for them and we’ll leave the tactics to our coaches.”