Go­ing for the kill

Lee, Hot­shots feel they can’t give Aces chance to re­bound, will shoot for com­mand­ing 3-0 ti­tle se­ries lead

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - By Mu­song R. Castillo @mu­songINQ

Paul Lee knows that Mag­no­lia has some­thing go­ing with a 2-0 lead over Alaska in their PBA Gov­er­nors’ Cup ti­tle se­ries.

But the pro­lific guard swears that he feels like he and his Hot­shots feel like they’re hold­ing on to noth­ing.

“The se­ries is so balanced, so matched, that you don’t feel com­fort­able even with the lead that we have,” Lee told the Inquirer in Filipino while on the way to his car Fri­day night, an hour or so af­ter the Hot­shots pulled out a 77-71 Game 2 win at Smart Araneta Coli­seum.

“You just feel that [no lead] is safe against that team,” he said in re­spect of the Aces, who will, for all in­tents and pur­poses, be play­ing for their sea­son Sun­day when Game 3 tips off at 6:30 p.m. Ynares Cen­ter in An­tipolo.

Coach Chito Vic­tolero wants his charges to con­tinue treat­ing each game as a do-or-die con­test, with con­fi­dence not some­thing one can feel in the way he talks.

“We have to come out with the same mind­set that we have had all sea­son long, and that is treat­ing each game as a do-or­die,” Vic­tolero, who is within two vic­to­ries of a first coach­ing ti­tle, said. “We have no rea­son to cel­e­brate. The tar­get is to get to four wins.”

Lee said that the lo­cals have so far been the key in the se­ries, and that each of them would have to chip in their share if they want to con­tinue si­lenc­ing the Aces.

“The im­ports have prac­ti­cally can­celed each other out,” Lee, a lead­ing can­di­date to win a first Best Player of the Con­fer­ence award, said.

Of course, de­fense has been a ma­jor fac­tor, with the Hot­shots be­ing a tad bet­ter at it, es­pe­cially in the scram­bling Game 2 win where they held the Aces score­less in­side the fi­nal 4:45.

Alaska’s Alex Comp­ton, for his part, ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion at how his Aces came out for Game 2, and de­clared that this thing is far from be­ing over.

“I tell you, we will come out and we will bat­tle and bat­tle,” he said. “And they (his Aces) bet­ter be ready (to do so).”

Alaska is in a 0-2 hole mainly be­cause of turnovers.

The Aces are av­er­ag­ing 25.5 blun­ders a con­test, that not even a feistier stand in Game 2 could save them from trail­ing big early in the best-of-seven se­ries.

“I loved see­ing how my guys bat­tled [in Game 2],” Comp­ton said.

“But had we taken bet­ter care of the ball, this could be a dif­fer­ent story,” Comp­ton added af­ter 26 Game 2 turnovers told the story.

—ED­WIN BACASMAS

Lee: We­can’t let our guard down

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