Chito Victolero said he is pleased to see Magnolia play better both offensively and defensively as the Hotshots hammered the NLEX Road Warriors, 107-93 in their scrimmage game on Wednesday at the Ronac gym in San Juan.
Former PBA Best Import Romeo Travis banged in 22 points to lead Magnolia, while guards Jio Jalalon and Alvin Abundo added 20 and 14, respectively for the team.
Olu Ashaolu led NLEX with 21, while JR Quiñahan chipped in 20 in a losing cause.
"We played much better compared to what we showed last week," Victolero told ESPN5, referring to Magnolia's 87-83 loss to Barangay Ginebra in a tune-up game.
"The good thing here is we have several more days to work on some of the things we need to adjust, but overall, I like the way we played on defense and the execution on offense," he added.
Magnolia is shooting for a second straight Governors' Cup title with Travis returning for another tour of duty this season.
Victolero though expects a more difficult road for his team to repeat, knowing that Ginebra, grand slam-seeking San Miguel and TNT are also among the favorites to win the season-ending conference.
The good thing though is veteran guards Mark Barroca and Paul Lee won't be missing games when the PBA Governors' Cup opens shop on September 20.
"We just gave Mark and Paul extended rest but we expect them to report for practice by next Monday," said Victolero on his prized guards.
Barroca and Lee, along with the rest of the members of the Gilas team arrived last Tuesday following a tough, winless campaign in the 2015 FIBA World Cup in China.
Veteran big man Marc Pingris will also be back in harness since missing a big chunk of the 2019 PBA season while recovering from an ACL tear on his knee.
"We've talked about breaking Ping in slowly. Good thing is everyone had an extended time of rest so now, all we want is for the players to start strong and stay hungry," shared Victolero, the 2018 PBA Coach of the Year.