The Magnolia Hotshots hardly broke a sweat in their final 2020 PBA Philippine Cup elimination round game as they blew out the listless Blackwater Elite, 95-80, for their sixth straight win.
Five Hotshots scored in double-figures, but none were more impressive than rookie Aris Dionisio, who made the most of his 19 minutes on the floor, and dropped 12 points on a 3-of-6 clip from downtown, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
For his efforts, the former star from St Clare College of Caloocan was given his first career Player of the Game honor, ahead of veteran teammates like Ian Sangalang and Chris Banchero.
“Siyempre, malaking bagay para sa ’kin na nakakuha ako ng Best Player dito sa PBA. Siyempre, para mas ma-push pa ako na magtrabaho pa ng doble para mas may maitulong pa ako sa team namin,” said the former MPBL All-Star.
(Of course, this is a big thing for me to get a Best Player award in the PBA. This will push me to work double time so I can help my teammates further.)
This came as no surprise, however, to head coach Chito Victolero, who saw his prized rookie record career-highs in points, blocks, and three-pointers made.
“Of course, I’m very proud of Aris because he puts a lot of work on his weaknesses. Today, his real game showed itself,” he said.
“Actually naman, ‘yung bata na ‘to kaya namin kinuha, talaga namang may skill and talent ‘yan,” he continued. “Kaya lang talaga ‘yung chemistry ‘yung one big issue sa kanya kasi nga nung pumasok siya sa’min, dito lang sa bubble. So talagang nahirapan siya sa chemistry.”
(Actually, we got this kid because he really has skills and talent. His one big issue is chemistry because he only got together with us here in the bubble. So he really struggled in forming chemistry.)
Indeed, this uncertainty showed in Dionisio’s minutes as they fluctuated wildly from game to game, and even got fully benched in two outings.
However, with the playoffs around the corner, and with the Hotshots now assured that they will only be either a 7th or 8th seed, Victolero may be forced to further fast-track Dionisio’s integration as soon as their next game.
“At least kahit papano, nakikilala na niya ‘yung mga kasama niya. At least ‘yung system, alam na rin niya, so malaking tulong,” he said.
(At least, he’s gradually learning more about his teammates, and he’s learning the system, so that’s a big help.)
And as their final elims game showed, Dionisio will surely give the Hotshots’ their money’s worth if given enough time to prove himself. – Rappler.com