MANILA, Philippines—Just like that, Magnolia is back in the game and the Hotshots have Tyler Bey’s dedication on defense largely to thank for that.
After their 96-85 victory over the Beermen in Game 4 that tied the PBA Commissioner’s Finals to 2-2, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero revealed that Bey personally asked to defend Boatwright in the past two games, which resulted in two crucial wins for the squad.
PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against San Miguel and the Hotshots have on defense to thank for as the series reached a fever pitch at two games a piece.
Magnolia’s Tyler Bey and coach Chito Victolero after their Game 4 win in the #PBAFinals over San Miguel.
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“T. Bey embraced that matchup with Bennie. He’s a very smart player, he realized that he can play both ends of the floor but the most important thing is he played good defense on Boatwright. He’s the one who asked for that,” told Victolero.
“Again, we can’t stop Bennie but we’ll try to limit his scoring and activity on the floor.”
Friday saw Boatwright record his conference-low production in scoring, registering just 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds.
To a normal player, that may be a fine stat line. But Boatwright isn’t just any swingman. He’s a Beerman who’s averaging 33.8 points a night for San Miguel.
Bey expected Boatwright to come out aggressive, so he did what any smart player would do and matched his furiousness on the court.
Bey outworked Boatwright in all facets of the game after dropping 26 points, 12 rebounds and six steals and he did it all in an efficient 50 percent field goal shooting clip.
“I knew he was going to come out more aggressive than Game 3, for sure. I don’t know what he went for in the last game but I know it wasn’t as good but for me I’m just stepping up to the challenge. I know that he’ll come out aggressive each and every game, especially after that loss. I knew I gotta step up this game in a much bigger way,” said the former Dallas Maverick.
“We talked about being lionhearted and the whole team stepped up. I wasn’t the only guy guarding him but my teammates helped me as well so credit to them,” added Bey.
Bey and Magnolia look to take a commanding 3-2 series lead over San Miguel on Sunday at the same venue.