MAGNOLIA SHOOTS FOR 2-0 FINALS LEAD

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Today’s Game (Araneta Coliseum)

7 p.m. Alaska vs Magnolia (Game 2, best-of-three

Finals series) MAGNOLIA vows to push harder while Alaska needs to just push if it wants to contend with the Hotshots in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup title series at all.

After pummeling the Aces for a 100-84 Game 1 victory, coach Chito Victolero declared that they will keep the pedal to the metal for the 7 p.m. second game slated at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City Friday night.

And Alaska’s Alex Compton? He was wonder i ng why h i s Ace s couldn’t keep up with the Hotshots in the series opener.

“We looked very rusty, but what about them?” Compton asked when he faced the media after the defeat that saw them trail by as large as 21 points. “They (Hotshots) played great. I expected us to play at that level and make it a tight game.

“I think we might have had a season-high in turnovers. We missed free throws and missed a bunch of threes,” Compton said in disappointment. “I know those ( things) could happen, but it can’t be that the other team seems to be quicker to the ball. It’s just really frustrating.”

The Hotshots scored the first 15 points of Game 1 and never looked back, making this series labeled to be very even seem so one-sided.

“We’re playing a team that’s playing the best basketball in the league right now,” Compton, who has been 0-4 in Finals series as a coach, concluded.

Alaska was also whistled for a lot of fouls early and the Hotshots capitalized by making all but three of 15 free throws that they got for the night. And what frustrated Compton was the Aces’ 19-for-32 clip from the stripe which could have made it a closer game if Alaska shot better.

“We need to continue treating every game as a do- or- die,” Victolero, who is seeking to win his first title as a coach in just his second Finals appearance, said. “There’s still a long way to go.”

Mike Harri s was a shell of his dominant self on Wednesday nig ht, shooting just 20 points as Victolero threw a defen- sive gauntlet on the leading Best Import candidate that worked.

Magnolia is seeking to win a first championship since capping off a Grand Slam season in 2014 by dominating this tournament, while Alaska hasn’t won since the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup under Luigi Trillo.

Vic Manuel wound up with just six points and would clearly need to contribute more for the Aces. — Inquirer

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