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Hotshots brace for another tough 'Manila Clasico' vs Gin Kings

MANILA, Philippines -- The streaking Magnolia Hotshots are bracing for a "very hard" game against the new-look Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in an epic Manila Clasico Sunday evening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Hotshots have won three straight games in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner's Cup, while Ginebra won their debut on Friday against the Converge FiberXers.

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero, after their domination of the NorthPort Batang Pier also on Friday, underscored the history of the Clasico.

"Of course, a Clasico is a Clasico. We expect a very hard game on sunday and we expect the crowd, we expect a big crowd on Sunday," Victolero told reporters.

"We cannot forget the history for both these teams, because even as a kid, the Clasico is already a thing. So, I think this will be good for basketball fans," he added.

The two teams will surely be showing out, the coach said, and they will be going hard.

Magnolia, bolstered by do-it-all import Tyler Bey, sharpshooters Mark Barroca, Paul Lee and the inside presence of Ian Sangalang, will try and blemish crowd darlings Ginebra.

The Gin Kings have a slightly, but significant, new look this season, as they are without resident import Justin Brownlee.

However, they have the talented Tony Bishop in tow, who had 34 points and 12 rebounds in his Ginebra debut.

They also signed reigning PBA Most Improved Player Mav Ahanmisi in the offseason.

Gin Kings guard Scottie Thompson said that they are excited for the Manila Clasico.

"As usual, Manila Clasico is a tough game. But, we're excited. The last Manila Clasico has been a long time ago, so I think everyone is excited," he told reporters Friday.

"Hopefully, we could give everyone a good match."

Bishop, meanwhile, lauded the "great team" that is Magnolia.

"They have great size. They have a deep team. They're able to push out on the break, they're able to get rebounds. Play defense and be aggressive," the import said.

"I know it's gonna be a tough game. It's not gonna be easy. But we'll come out and just play our game and be aggressive and play together."