Victolero rues multiple change of imports as Magnolia fails to reach semis

MANILA, Philippines – Playing with 4 different imports in an 11-game conference played a huge factor in Magnolia not reaching the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals, Hotshots coach Chito Victolero rued. 

The Hotshots saw their streak of 4 straight semifinals apperances halted after absorbing a 78-89 quarterfinals loss to the twice-to-beat Alaska Aces on Tuesday, July 10. 

"Malaking factor 'yung hindi kami maka-settle down sa import eh. So, 'yung chemistry hindi namin mabuo-buo," Victolero told reporters after the game. 

(It was a big factor that we did not settle down with an import, which resulted in not building chemistry within the team.) 

Magnolia, which is coming off a finals apperance in the Philippine Cup, was off to an inspiring 3-1 start with veteran Vernon Macklin before the American left for China to pursue a guaranteed contract

The Hotshots then brought neophyte import Curtis Kelly but he was quickly replaced by another newbie in Justin Jackson after going winless in two games. 

Although Jackson went 1-1 in his two games for Magnolia, the franchise chose to bring in veteran Wayne Chism as it made its final push for a quarterfinals slot.

With Chism, the Hotshots won their final two games to clinch a playoff berth at 7th place only to be frustrated by the second seed Aces in their quarterfinals clash. 

"Medyo hindi kami pinalad ngayon. Of course, 3 semis and one Finals? Not bad. Pero hanggang quarters lang ngayon so siguro medyo hindi kami pinalad. But we will  bounce back," Victolero said. 

(We were not lucky enough. Of course, 3 semis and one Finals? Not bad. But we did not make it past the quarters so I guess, we are not lucky enough. But we will bounce back.) 

As they gear up for the Governor's Cup, Victolero revealed they are looking at a shortlist of 3 imports while they take a two-week rest for their players to recuperate from their respective injuries.

"Overall, okay naman, but we’re looking forward doon sa Govs Cup. Sana makakakuha kami nang mas maayos na import na mag-stay sa amin hanggang dulo." 

(Overall, we are okay, but we're looking forward to the Govs Cup. I hope we can bring in an import that will stay with us in the end.) – 

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.