Hotshots give Victolero win in 200th game as head coach

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MAGNOLIA gave Chito Victolero back-to-back wins on his 200th game as a head coach with masterful 109-98 rout of Rain or Shine on Sunday in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Thanks to Jio Jalalon’s splendid playmaking and scoring, the Hotshots are in a 2-0 start behind solo leader NLEX (4-0).

The ex-Arellano University scrappy point guard tallied 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field on top of 10 assists and six rebounds.

Victolero also praised Magnolia’s leech-like defense that clamped down Rain or Shine’s offense throughout the game.

“It starts with our defense. We want to control the pace of the game,” said Victolero, whose wards controlled the game with more steals (7-5) and blocks (12-4).

Victolero booked his 118th win against 82 losses since taking the job as Hotshots head coach in 2016.

“We had a hard time each time we faced Rain or Shine in the last bubble’s quarterfinals. The good thing was we continue playing defense and executing on our offense this time,” Victolero said. “We need to have that mental toughness because we knew it was going to be a physical game.”

Import Mike Harris piled up 10 of his 26 points in the third quarter, while Calvin Abueva flirted with a double-double of 18 points and nine rebounds. Ian Sangalang had 11 points for Magnolia.

The Hotshots committed only five turnovers against the Elasto Painters’ 16 errors, the team’s all-time fewest in a game in franchise history that tied the all-time fourth fewest in a game by any team in the league.

Magnolia unleashed a fast-paced game throughout and posted its biggest lead at 96-78 in the fourth period behind Jalalon’s two free throws with still 7:40 remaining in the game . The Elasto Painters didn’t recover from there.

Import Henry Walker and Rey Nambatac scored 23 points each, but their efforts were not enough to stop Rain or Shine reeling to back-to-back losses.

The Elasto Painters dropped to a 2-2 win-loss record.

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