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No rest for weary as San Miguel, Magnolia as grind continues during Holy Week

07:33 PM March 27, 2018

It may be the Holy Week, but there’s no time for any kind of breather for championship protagonists San Miguel and Magnolia.

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Beermen coach Leo Austria and Hotshots mentor Chito Victolero agreed that they could not afford to slow down with the stakes this high in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

That’s why the grind continues for both teams even when everyone is taking their Holy Week break.

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Austria has given San Miguel the Monday off before calling the team back on Tuesday. The amiable mentor, though, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of another break, which would probably come on Good Friday, depending on the squad’s showing in practice.

“If we’ll work hard in the next two days after our break, I might give them another break, probably Friday,” he said, emphasizing on his players’ need to fulfill their spiritual obligations.

“Maybe we need to go to processions and give back to God the blessings that we’re getting. We know that Good Friday is the right time for our players to reflect.”

Victolero, meanwhile, has given Magnolia a two-day respite after its 77-92 Game 2 defeat last Sunday before resuming the team’s daily practices on Wednesday.

“It’s too close to Game 3, so we have no choice but to practice on Good Friday,” he said.

Victolero emphasized the importance of this week-long break in helping the Hotshots get their bearings back after a gruelling three weeks since the quarterfinals.

“I think for the last three weeks, we’ve been playing every other day. So it’s good that the players will be able to rest and forget about basketball for a bit,” he said.

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Austria, however, is approaching this break with caution as the memories of the Beermen’s 105-103 Game 1 defeat to the Hotshots still firmly on his mind.

“We came from five day’s rest, but it felt like we rested too long and that’s why we fell flat in that fourth quarter,” he said. “We learned our lessons from that game. Deep inside, you can see that my team is very serious to the point that they will fight anyone on the court.”

The best-of-seven Finals series is tied at one game apiece, and San Miguel and Magnolia return to action on Sunday for Game 3 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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