Magnolia coach Chito Victolero chose not to miss a game despite having just had surgery on his Achilles.
He was one of many who were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the group.
The Hotshots extended their undefeated streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with a 111 to 97 drubbing of the NLEX Road Warriors.
After bravely recovering from a terrifying accident the previous game, Nick Rakocevic led the Hotshots to their fourth victory while handing the Road Warriors their second straight defeat following a 2 to 0 conference start with 36 points and 15 rebounds.
Off the bench, Jio Jalalon put up amazing all-around numbers of 18 points, 8 assists, 6 steals, and 5 rebounds, while the starting playmaker Mark Barroca also had a strong day with 16 points and 4 assists.
As the Hotshots battled without injured colleagues Ian Sangalang and Rome dela Rosa, Paul Lee, Jackson Corpuz, Calvin Abueva, and Aris Dionisio, they continued to outperform the opposition.
As a result of the Hotshots’ outstanding teamwork, Victolero, whose left foot is currently in a hard cast after undergoing surgery three days ago, may relax on the bench.
Rakocevic admitted that he was a little exhausted but that because everyone was giving something up, it was simple to push himself even more and not give fatigue any thought.
Jason Webb, an assistant coach, said it’s important to maintain composure and show each other that they understand the sacrifices they’re making.
When referring to their head coach and other players who were dealing with health issues while playing, Webb remarked, “From top to bottom, you can see it. They “took inspiration from one another and as a team, they appreciated each other’s sacrifice.”
The Hotshots leapt on the Road Warriors and maintained a fierce effort the entire game to dish NLEX a 14-point beating because each player refused to slow down despite their own problems.
With a fierce defense that drove the Road Warriors into 22 turnovers, the Hotshots came out firing.
Rakocevic and his team applied extra pressure to NLEX import Earl Clark, restricting him to just 12 field goal attempts and a meager 15 points on a 50% shooting percentage.
Justin Chua and Kevin Alas led NLEX in scoring with 16 points each. (SB)
Scores at the end of the match
Magnolia with 111 points
Individual Scores: Rakocevic 36, Jalalon 18, Barroca 16, Lee 9, Dionisi 8, Corpuz 8, Ahanmisi 4, Abueva 3, Wong 2, Zaldivar 2, Laput 2, Mendoza 0, and Escoto 0
NLEX with 97 points
Individual Scores: Alas 16, Chua 16, Clark 15, Ganuelas-Rosser 15, Trollano 12, Nieto 7, Fonacier 6, Ighalo 6, Varilla 3, Miranda 1, Celda 0
Scores Per Quarter
34 to 23, 58 to 48, 86 to 65, 111 to 97
Hotshots play Road Warriors with a fresh start
Nick Rakocevic, who was hurt but escaped with only minor injuries in their most recent game, is anticipated to return to action and take the helm for the Magnolia Hotshots on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as they attempt to maintain their unbeaten streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup against the NLEX Road Warriors.
The all-around Magnolia import was forced to sit out the final six minutes of their match against the Tropang Giga on October 5 due to a strange accident that involved Jackson Corpuz colliding with Rakocevic’s right knee after being pushed by TNT gunner Pogoy.
Strangely, NLEX dropped its opening game under new coach Frankie Lim. Under temporary coach Adonis Tierra, the Road Warriors won two games before Lim returned to PBA coaching.
On September 23, Earl Clark and the Road Warriors defeated Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, and a week later, they defeated the Blackwater Bossing, 105 to 102.
But Lim wasn’t anticipating an easy trip, especially with a team that was suffering from injuries. JR Quinahan, Anthony Semerad, Philip Paniamogan, and Kris Rosales are among those that are afflicted with health problems.
We will be patient with them, but it will take some time, Lim remarked. Every day at practice and in competition, we’ll work to get better.