Magnolia fell by the wayside for the second straight Commissioner’s Cup and veteran forward Marc Pingris believes that this was simply due to the team’s constant changing of imports.
The Hotshots started the conference with John Fields at the helm but the former Columbian Dyip import lasted for only one game due to an ankle injury which he sustained in practice.
James Farr came in to take Field’s place and after losing in his debut game, the Hotshots rattled off 5 straight victories capped by an emphatic road win over the Meralco Bolts in Zamboanga.
Looking good with a 5-2 record, the Hotshots’ campaign suddenly took a nosedive as it lost its next 3 games. With an even 5-5 card and about to go up against eventual top seed TNT, the team decided to pull the plug on Farr and announced the signing of former NBA player Rakeem Christmas.
Armed with better credentials, Magnolia paraded Christmas against the league-leading KaTropa only to find out that the 27-year old American is terribly out-of-shape.
All-in-all, the Hotshots lost all 3 games with Christmas on board, including 2 in the quarterfinal series against Brgy. Ginebra, and bowed out of contention in the mid-season conference on a 6-game slide.
“Kumbaga, naging epekto yun sa team kasi papalit-palit ng import. Hindi mo makuha yung sistema,” explained Pingris.
“Yung foundation na binubuo ni coach, okay sa all Filipino pero ibang-iba sa conference na ito kasi import ang nagdadala eh. Laking bagay yung adjustment na makapag-practice sila ng two weeks dito, okay yun. Sa game na mismo dumarating. Kahit sinong import na malakas, mahihirapan ka talaga mag-adjust,” added the 37-year old native of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan.