It always takes tremendous effort for a team to keep its winning ways – more so preserving the unblemished record all through the adversities along the way.
But Magnolia had proven time and again that it can manage to pull through. Drawing inspiration from each other, the Hotshots kept their record pristine after four games despite missing the services of some of key players and their import having a huge injury scare the last time out.
For Magnolia head deputy Jason Webb, it was the resiliency of the team that made it work especially after winning against NLEX in a lopsided 111-97 fashion.
“I think the combination of composure and the appreciation of the sacrifice. This is what really carried us through this game,” said Webb who participated in the post game press conference in place of coach Chito Victolero who recently went under the knife to repair his injured achilles.
The Hotshots were still without Ian Sangalang and Rome Dela Rosa due to typhoid fever and import Nick Rakocevic coming off a huge injury scare after hurting his knee in their last game against TNT.
“I mean look at it from top to bottom. If you have Coach Chito coming over here after the operation two, three days ago, we have (guys) that had typhoid fever coming here being present. Nick was only able to practice one day but I think as a team, everyone appreciated each others’ effort,” furthered Webb.
“That's why when things were going wrong, we just looked at the players and the coaches, they just looked at each other and they were able to draw inspiration from each other,” he added.
The Hotshots' morale were actually not in its best the past weeks ever since the injury scare to Rakocevic but Magnolia had a huge sigh of relief after the Serbian-American import was spared from any major knee injury.
“We were at the practice, a day or two days after the Talk (TNT) game, nag-practice kami and then we're waiting kasi Nick went to the hospital that morning. At the end of practice, sakto dumating si Nick sabi niya that he's okay. So when that happened, it was really a big burden taken off everyone's shoulders. 'Cause as a team, kita naman na maganda 'yung rapport with Nick and we didn't want to lose him especially to something like that,” said Webb.
Seeing Victolero and his teammates' dedication, Rakocevic said he was inspired to do his best putting up 36 points and 16 rebounds to keep the Hotshots winning ways
“Like Coach (lead deputy Jason Webb) was saying earlier, everybody makes sacrifices, and everybody sees that so you want to play harder and you wanna play for the guy next to you, you want to play for the coach. I want to continue to play for Magnolia and play for the team and keep this winning streak that we have going right now” said the 24-year-old import.