MANILA, Philippines -- Regardless of what their final seeding may be, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero was proud to see the Hotshots take care of business in their last game of the elimination round.
Against San Miguel Beer, the Hotshots got a 32-point explosion from veteran guard Paul Lee to take a 100-90 victory. The result gave them an 8-3 slate at the end of the eliminations, and kept them in the running for a Top 2 finish.
The top two teams at the end of the elimination round will have a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup. TNT Tropang GIGA (10-1) has already secured the top seed and the first playoff bonus.
"'Yung game na 'to is in our hands. Kumbaga, kontrolado namin. And then, the game of other teams, that's not in our control," Victolero said afterward. "So now, we just try to wait. Nagawa namin 'yung trabaho namin, nagawa namin 'yung kung ano dapat naming gawin."
"And then, kung destiny namin, kung talagang bigay sa amin ni Lord na mapunta kami sa Top 2 spot, so be it. Kung hindi, we play a very good game, and then madadala namin 'yan sa playoffs," he added.
The Meralco Bolts (7-2) currently sit at the second spot with still two games left in their schedule. They also own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Magnolia, should the two teams finish with identical records.
The Bolts beat the Hotshots, 95-94, when they played last September 1 off a Chris Newsome game-winner.
If the Hotshots don't get a twice-to-beat bonus, they will feature in a best-of-3 series in the quarterfinals.
Regardless of how the final standings shake up, Victolero said what's crucial is that they continue to play their brand of basketball come the playoffs.
"We will prepare starting Tuesday," he said. "I think, 'yung morale naman ng team, medyo mataas, and actually walang mahinang team ngayon eh."
"So we just try to prepare hard, kung sino man 'yung makakatapat namin. And we will respect everybody, every team. We will respect every team," he stressed.