Nick Rakocevic (right) is averaging 30 points and close to 19 rebounds in the first five games for Magnolia. —PBA IMAGES

Nick Rakocevic (right) is averaging 30 points and close to 19 rebounds in the first five games for Magnolia. —PBA IMAGES

Magnolia coach Chito Victolero didn’t have to pore over league statistics or revisit old game clips to remind himself just how little superficial winning streaks could be in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

A reminder was right before the Hotshots on Sunday night.


The Hotshots played NorthPort at Smart Araneta Coliseum, with Victolero and his charges pocketing a 109-91 decision to stay perfect after five games of the Commissioner’s Cup.

“I always remind them that we’ve gone through something like this before, that this is only the start,” he told a number of scribes on his way out of the venue by way of a mobility scooter.


Recent experience made Victolero talk that way.

It was, after all, the Batang Pier who dealt the Hotshots their first loss in the last Governors’ Cup after they had opened that conference with six convincing victories.

The Hotshots made the playoffs, sure, but their bid was quashed by injuries and a hungrier Meralco side in the Final Four.

So there is no way that a streak such as this one would be indicative of a club’s chances at winning it all, according to the one-time champion coach.

Victolero then reached for a bit of math to drive another point.

“The tournament is going to take a while. We’ve got only five games [in], and if we’re truly lucky, more if we make the playoffs.

“This is just 25 percent of our goal,” he went on. “In these eliminations, we’ll be glad wherever the wins take us, as long as we capture our goal [of a championship].”


What is paramount for Magnolia is staying on an even keel. And Victolero said the club is doing just that by craving excellence.

“We’re not satisfied. We’re still hungry. We still want to achieve more, especially when opposing teams seem to have become stronger. You also have the [4-1 Bay Area] Dragons out there,” he said

“So we will continue to work hard, especially on our consistency on the defensive end,” he added. “We still need to polish things.”

Standing on the way of Magnolia’s bid to stay perfect is 2-2 Barangay Ginebra in a fancied duel set this weekend at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“That’s ‘Clasico.’ Players and coaches of both teams, and the fans [are thrilled]. I’m excited for Sunday’s game,” said Victolero. INQ

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