Magnolia is anticipating a strong challenge from another winless team when it takes on Alaska on Saturday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Buoyed by their comeback over the NLEX Road Warriors three days ago, the Hotshots shoot for back-to-back victories in the 6:45 p.m. match against the shorthanded Aces.
The Hotshots handed the Road Warriors their second straight defeat 103-100 after erasing a 22-point lead courtesy of their backcourt.
Mark Barroca, Chris Banchero and Jio Jalalon provided the spark with Magnolia’s full-court press that resulted in turnovers and baskets while Paul Lee’s four-point play in the dying seconds gave the Hotshots the lead.
But coach Chito Victolero warned that Magnolia, which improved to 1-1 after bouncing back from a 94-78 loss to San Miguel Beer last March 8, can’t be too high on themselves, knowing that Alaska is expected to play with a determined look.
“I expect Alaska to come out very, very strong because coming from a 0-2 start they have a sense of urgency to fight back and to play hard,” said Victolero.
Alaska gave itself a chance to win but lost both times to TNT (100-95) last Sunday and Meralco (93-81).
But the Aces will head into the match without one of their key players in Kevin Racal, who is out for the rest of the bubble due to an ACL injury against TNT.
The Aces are also waiting if Maverick Ahanmisi, who finally entered the bubble last Thursday, can suit up in time for the match.
Ahanmisi is undergoing a room quarantine after taking a swab test procedure upon his arrival at Quest Hotel.
Blackwater and NLEX seek to redeem themselves from disappointing losses in their 4 p.m. match.
The Elite fell short against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel 103-99 last Thursday despite solid performances from Don Trollano, Mac Belo and Roi Sumang.
Kiefer Ravena scored 27 points for the Road Warriors against the Hotshots, but missed two attempts in the final seconds.