Hotshots go for equalizer


TNT Tropang Giga tries to create more separation anew in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup Finals, but the Magnolia Hotshots aren’t expected to give away the momentum from their Game 3 victory last Sunday.

The Hotshots vowed to go for the equalizer in Game 4 that starts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Even though they have to play through pain.

“I need to sacrifice my body,” said Ian Sangalang, one of the most consistent Hotshots in the season whose back isn’t making him 100 percent in the series. “I just have to take my medicines to lessen the pain on my back and play the remaining games in the finals.”

Sangalang’s back has been bothering him since their exhausting six-game semifinals series against Meralco.

“I played 40 minutes every other day in the series, but I am thankful to Doc [Jose Raul] Canlas for providing treatment,” he said. Canlas is a renowed sports medicine doctor and is the medical commission head of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Sangalang, who scored only five points in their Game 1 70-88 loss and rebounded in Game 2 with 25 points which his team also lost, 93-105. Magnolia finally solved TNT’s puzzle in Game 3 with a 106-98 victory behind Paul Lee’s 21 points and Sangalang’s 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists performances.

“We are just going to come out ready and prepared,” Sangalang added.

Expect to deliver in Game 4 aside from Lee and Sangalang are primary Best Player of the Conference candidate Calvin Abueva, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon, among others. For Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, they are ready for what TNT will bring in Game 4.

“We are trying to sustain our defense and execution. We are preparing also for TNT’s adjustments, we are here to anticipate their plans,” Magnolia Coach Victolero said. “We’re not using anything as an excuse, we are ready to play through pain.”

Power forward Troy Rosario, on the other hand, is a game-time decision for TNT because of a dislocated left pinky and spinal shock that bothered his left leg in Game 3.  Rosario, who averaged 7.33 points in the first three games of the finals, is hoping to get back just on time for Tropang Giga.

“I hope I can still play and help my team in the series,” Rosario, 29, said. “We are already here [finals] so why not get it? We sacrificed a lot since the start, but we still need to win two games to capture the title. These two games are the most difficult.”

TNT Coach Chot Reyes said his main concern is to get a game and move closer to the crown.

“I am  expecting us to play better next game—that’s all I’m thinking of right now,” Reyes said.

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