Magnolia is poised to snatch its seventh Philippine Cup and 15th overall crown at 6:30 p.m. tonight when it battles defending champion San Miguel Beer in Game 6 of the best-of-seven championship series of Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots, behind Mark Barroca’s buzzer-beating jumper, escaped the Beermen, 88-86, in Game 5 to establish a 3-2 series lead.
“They (Beermen) are a powerhouse team. We are the underdog in this series but we will do our best to finish them off tonight. Since the start, we are the only one who believe in ourselves. So our battle cry is believe,” said Barroca, who scored 22 points in Game 5.
Meanwhile, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said he’s leaving everything to providence.
“For us, it is still one game at a time. If God wants to give it to us, we are going to accept it wholeheartedly.”
Ian Sangalang finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds in the previous game while Paul Lee contributed 12 points.
“That’s the story of this series. We capitalized on our strength, which is defense. If we can limit them below 100 points, we have a good chance. If they score above 100 points, they would likely win,” added Victolero.
San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria and his wards are determined to force a do-or-die Game 7 on Wednesday.
“It’s a do-or-die for us. We have to use all the talents we have,” said Austria, who admitted that they shot poorly (29.8 percent) overall from the field. “It’s very evident our shots selection is very poor. Imagine it is hard to win if you’re only shooting 30 percent against 40 percent [of Magnolia].”
Arwind Santos is not throwing in the towel yet.
“We are challenged. What is good here is, we still have a chance and we’re not going to give up easily. We’ll see in Game 6,” said Santos.
Despite the commotion caused by a man dressed in Spiderman costume during the last three minutes of the game, June Mar Fajardo scored 13 of his 21 points in the final canto on top of 22 rebounds and three blocks.
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