The Magnolia Hotshots dropped back-to-back games with new import Rakeem Christmas in tow. Not necessarily a good way to announce your arrival but head coach Chito Victolero believes bringing in the 27-year old former NBA player for James Farr was still the right decision for the reigning Governors’ Cup champs.
Victolero admits it was a high-risk move but it’s something that the franchise was more than willing to make in order to save its campaign in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“I know it’s a big risk, but kailangan naming gawin in order for us na magkaroon ng chance dito sa quarterfinals. Kung makalusot man kami sa semis. It was a risk, but worth it naman,” said the former Columbian Dyip mentor.
Chritmas finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds in his second outing which was a considerable improvement from the first but still wasn’t enough to lead his team to victory. As a result, the Hotshots are now in a must-win situation going into Game 2 of their quarterfinal series with defending champion Brgy. Ginebra.
Despite another loss, the team’s 5th straight overall dating back to the elimination round, Victolero remains upbeat with their chances especially now that Christmas is slowly but surely getting into the groove.
“He helped us a lot in rebounding and inside the paint, yung presence niya laging nandoon. So malaking tulong sa amin yun,” said the former PBA player.
“Habang tumatagal nakaka-adjust na siya sa weather, sa team, sa sistema.”