The Magnolia Hotshots looked headed to an opening game win after lording it over the Phoenix Fuel Masters for majority of the contest, that is until they collapsed in the closing minutes and allowed Matthew Wright to take over.
The Gilas sniper connected on a triple with just 2.3 seconds left to finally give his team the upperhand, 88-87. Wright then split his free throws on the next possession for the final score.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero immediately took responsibility for the loss.
“It’s our fault eh. We controlled the game, but kumbaga binigyan namin ng chance yung Phoenix makabalik,” said the sophomore coach.
The Hotshots enjoyed a 16-point spread in the 3rd quarter, 62-46 but fell victim to the Fuel Master’s trapping defense to open the conference with a heart-breaking loss.
“We controlled the game up to 46 minutes and then yung last two minutes, dun kami bumitaw,” added the former Columbian coach.
Magnolia was charged with a technical foul after Victolero called for a timeout after the Wright triple despite the Hotshots not having one anymore.
“During the huddle, I know naman na there’s no more timeout e. Siguro nga, di kami nagkaintindihan nung committee table. Sabi ko nga, hindi dun nagsimula yung talo namin. Pero it’s all on me lahat. Inaako naman natin responsibility for that.”
The Hotshots will try to bounce back against GlobalPort on Saturday, May 12 at the AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.