MANILA, Philippines—With Magnolia down by 25 against Barangay Ginebra at halftime, coach Chito Victolero gave his players an earful during the intermission.
Whatever Victolero said certainly did wonders for the Hotshots, who got their act together in the second half and battled back to stun the Gin Kings, 93-91, in their first “Manila Clasico” game of the season on Sunday.
Victolero’s outburst was a sight to see for import Tyler Bey, who had never seen his coach lose his cool the way he did at halftime.
“I’ve never seen coach Chito like that,” said Bey.
“I felt it, though. I felt the energy, I felt the passion of how bad he wanted it and after that it was on us. We were the players, he was the coach and we did what we had to do.”
Bey spearheaded the Hotshots’ comeback and finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
Jio Jalalon also came up big in the rally and ended up with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. But even Jalalon wasn’t safe from Victolero’s rage.
“Whatever he told you guys in the media earlier was all true,” said Jalalon with a laugh.
“He was so mad. He was mad at all of us because what we showed in the first half was not Magnolia basketball. We were selfish, after one pass we shoot right away, we weren’t executing.”
But Victolero had every right to lose his cool after Magnolia’s lackadaisical first half led to Ginebra scoring 60 points–something that hasn’t been seen in this season until Sunday.
Victolero said he just needed to remind his wards to be more aggressive and play with much higher intensity.
“Actually, I shouted at them because they outworked us in the first half. We were outhustled and they bullied us. I challenged these guys to play the Magnolia Hotshots’ basketball system which is sacrificing points, ball movement plus our defensive mindset,” said Victolero.
The win stretched the Hotshots’ unbeaten run to four games.