Magnolia Hotshots can Contend Provided that they Remain Healthy

Magnolia Hotshots
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Injury problems to a specific player can be amended as long as the rest of the team steps up for the injured player. But injury problems to multiple players? That’s a different story. No matter how good your coach and/or your team is, if your is not physically fit to play on the court, you will definitely struggle even against bad teams. 
And over the past conferences, that has been the problem with the Magnolia Hotshots. In fact, they were consistent on being on the semifinals only to be hit by injury to star players like Paul Lee and Marc Pingris. Paul Lee, for one, missed the latter parts of their Governors’ Cup semifinal series against the Meralco Bolts who swept the Hotshots in 3 games.
After dropping their Christmas Day game against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, the Magnolia Hotshots have been on the surge, winning 3 straight games, the last one being a 97-91 come-from-behind-win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters. That game saw the Hotshots erase a 5-point deficit in the final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter through the combined efforts of Marc Pingris, Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee and Rafi Reavis.

More Healthy Players = Higher Chances of Winning

While there’s no denying the fact that the Magnolia Hotshots have one of the oldest cores in the PBA, they are still among the few teams this conference who have both the talent and the experience to take down the defending Philippine Cup champions, the San Miguel Beermen. They just need to do one thing to remain competitive and hopefully end their semifinal slumps: stay away from injuries especially during the latter part of the conference.  
Why?
With the PBA now allowing a higher amount of physicality during games, we can expect more bodies banging against each other plus a few bodies flying onto the court. While it’s good and fun for the fans to see the league allowing more bangings between players, these are exactly the things that the Hotshots should be careful about because one bad fall could hurt not just a player but the conference of the team. 

Conclusion

With the Hotshots scheduled to face the Talk N Text KaTropa this coming Saturday, Chito Victolero can only hope and pray that none of his players will get not just during their next game but for the rest of the PBA’s 43rd season because no coach enjoys seeing his players not being able to play due to injury. 

Magnolia Aiming to be Extra Careful with Winless Kia

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Statistically, the Magnolia Hotshots are the better team heading into their first game of the year against the team which has yet to win a single game this conference, the Kia Picanto. 
Even though they are heavily favored to handle the Picanto their 3rd straight defeat this afternoon, the Hotshots, specifically Coach Chito Victolero has said it that they are aiming to be extra careful against the still winless Picanto who have a new coach and a new system to follow. 
After all, Ricky Dandan, who took over following the resignation of Chris Gavina, aims to follow Joe Lipa’s ways of the playing conventional style of basketball. And if you’re fortunate enough to witness Joe Lipa coach during his heydays, then you know Magnolia is up against a much different team.
After bowing down to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings on Christmas Day, the Magnolia Hotshots are gunning for their second win in 3 games as the 16-day hiatus in between games hopefully enabled injured stars to heal from their injuries, specifically Jio Jalalon who has just been cleared to play. In addition to this, Victolero also hopes that PJ Simon and Marc Pingris to come out better after struggling against Ginebra. If the stars of Magnolia can pound early on, chances are Kia is already in a big trouble.
On the other hand, Ricky Dandan only had 7 practices with the Picanto after taking over at the helm. Installing a new system is among his priorities early on but according to the former head coach of the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP, his number 1 focus, for now, is to make sure that the Picanto becomes a solidified team before they can start moving forward.

Conclusion

It’s good that Chito Victolero and his boys aren’t taking the Picanto for granted as it will be a big embarrassment if they are to lose to Kia today. After all, who would want to be defeated by the worst team in the league right now?
On the other hand, a 0-2 record doesn’t really translate to the amount of talent that Kia. After all, they almost beat the NLEX Road Warriors back in their first game of the new a season. ALMOST. Having said this, Chito Victolero is definitely correct in saying that Kia is indeed, a very dangerous team. 

Balls-Eye: 5 Best Power Forwards in the PBA

The guys with the perfect balance will always be the powerforwards. In all aspects they come in midway of Centers and Guards. But what makes some of them standout?

We’ll find out as we run down the 5 best power forwards we have in the Filipino Basketball.

1. Ranidel De Ocampo

Ranidel de Ocampo

A.K.A RDO, he is one of the finest forwards any team would want to have. Ranidel’s got the size to match even with centers in rebounding and post up plays. What makes him special? With his size, he could impeccably deliver from beyond the arc. A dangerous weapon for guys with the size advantage. R.D.O can take all sorts of shots depending on his defender.

2. Marc Pingris

Of course the Pinoy Sakuragi would never go out of sight when talking about some of the best power forwards. Despite having a relatively small size, he is a huge defensive obstacle. It is proven. Even the mighty Japeth Aguilar gets blocked and is having a hard time during post up matches.

3. Calvin Abueva

Calvin Abueva
The beast would be considered the player with an extra impact on the floor. He’s got the intensity. He even gained prominence with the ‘Calvin Crush’ wherein he goes full speed against any defender and bangs it with his full body strength, not caring whoit is in front whether a center or a guard. He just hustles on both ends.
Another good thing about Calvin is his presence which irritates opponents and somehow gets them out of focus.

4. Japeth Aguilar

Japeth Aguilar against Marc Pingris
A 6 foot 9 inch gut with incredible jumping power? It is non other than Japeth Aguilar. Japeth’s got the length and the strength to go all out.
Another good thing in Japeth is that his size does not hinder his speed. He frequently finishes fast break attacks in a spectacular alley oop jams. An excellent finisher and hype provider for the team and for audiences of course.

5. Rafi Reavis

Rafi Reavis

Reavis could match Aguilar’s length but he is an even better player when talking about the battle under the rim. Aguilar could shoot from the perimeter but Reavis is more efficient when cleaning up missed shots and scoring in the shaded area. Reavis is a perfect match against this era’s twin towers.

Highlights of the number one forward on our list ( Ranidel De Ocampo)

Twin Tower Era: Who’s Magnolia Hotshots’ Trump Card?

Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter
Despite Magnolia’s loss on Christmas Classico, it turned out to be a healthy one. They seem to have drawn a trump card concealed inside their deep deck. A duo who could stop and counter the force of the threatening era of the twin towers of San Miguel and of course their recent opponent, Brgy Ginebra.
Facing the Brgy Ginebra squad is and will always be an ultimate test of character. Talking about Greg and Japeth combination, the shaded area seems to be preoccupied all the time due to this enormous beasts.
However, the Hotshots somehow kept up with the very dense Ginebra interior. The wall-like defense of the twin towers became the key for Hotshots to unlock their hidden weapon that could match the towers.

Smaller but still with power

Who can be able to stop the Pinoy Sakuragi Marc Pingris whenever he post-ups. He’s a great match against Japeth Aguilar despite the height disadvantage. Ping just outwits size with strength and agility. Another good thing about Pingris is that he could deliver one-handed floaters — a great way to shoot over huge players.

How about Gregzilla?

Slaughter might be the biggest player but still, he’s not the only big man existing in the league. Magnolia’s roster has a smaller but way faster and athletic player. Ian Sangalang hustled in their recent game both offensively and defensively.
What’s Sangalang’s advantage over Slaughter?
If Slaughter’s advantage were size, Sangalang’s got the speed. He could run in transition and finish fast breaks. In addition, fast breaks are twin towers’ weakness due to the high pace of the transition which they commonly could not keep up. Therefore, Sangalang can be considered the biggest man in terms of transition baskets.

Conclusion

You may never win in a head to head battle against players way bigger than you are but there is always some weak points that when taken advantage of, will be very effective and fatal. The key to outplaying the twin towers is through individual agility and team’s high offensive pace.

Will Chemistry Enable Magnolia to Challenge SMB’s Supremacy?

A Wheeler’s Opinion: The Hotshots’ intact core MIGHT help them get back to the Finals. MIGHT

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

If you have been watching the PBA over the course of the last few seasons, then you knew how the Magnolia Hotshots, formerly known as the Purefoods Star Hotshots, from a championship-contending team to a semifinal-consistent team especially during the 42nd season of the PBA. While there’s nothing wrong with consistently making into the semifinal round, when your team hasn’t moved on onto the next round for a very long, long time, then something is wrong with your team.
Then, came along the blockbuster trade that sent Paul Lee to the Hotshots in exchange for James Yap who was sent to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Statistically, the Hotshots would have benefited from that deal considering the fact that James Yap is slowly entering the last few years of his career and has been down for some time now due to injuries. Paul Lee, on the other hand, has a decent first season with the Hotshots only to end it with an injury that forced him to miss the rest of the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup where the Hotshots were swept by the Meralco Bolts.
Heading into their first game tomorrow against the Alaska Aces, Head Coach Chito Victolero is facing a big problem: Jio Jalalon, Rafi Reavis and Paul Lee are still recovering from their respective injuries while the team’s energetic bunny, Marc Pingris is still resting from the surgery which removed his kidney stones a few days back. The coach has already said that he has no choice but to play with the current team that he will have come tomorrow.
However, Victolero is also hopeful that the chemistry that his team has established last season will enable them to at least, challenge the supremacy of the San Miguel Beermen. in the Philippine Cup.

Question: will a good chemistry be enough to bring the Hotshots to the promised land?

Possibly. After all, some of these players were already together when Tim Cone led them to a Grand Slam when they were still known as the San Mig Coffee Mixers a few years ago, remember? The arrival of Jio Jalalon and Paul Lee to the team have added youth and speed to the team. So what’s preventing the Hotshots from booking a return trip to the Finals? Inconsistency on both ends of the court. 

Conclusion

Maybe a name change will help ignite the Hotshots who are still undermanned as we speak. But who knows? Chito Victolero might have something hiding under his sleeves. Will they beat the Aces tomorrow? Possibly. Challenge the Beermen? That’s a different story for another time. 

Ping Enters 5000 Point Club, Helps Hotshots on Win

Star Keeps Kia Winless 

 Ping becomes the 85hth player to enter the 5,000 point club (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

For the Star Hotshots, it’s about regaining their momentum and warming up for the upcoming quarterfinals. For the Kia Picanto on the other hand, a win would be a perfect way to end a miserable campaign to the season ender 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup which saw them drop their first 10 games.
From making the extra passes to working on their inside game and even making more three-point shots, the Star Hotshots regained their composure and more importantly, won against the Kia Picanto via a which put the Hotshots led by import Kristofer Acox tied with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 6-4 in the standings. 
This is an important win for the Hotshots because they will be facing the NLEX Road Warriors this coming Sunday to close their schedule and should the Hotshots win that game, they can enter the quarterfinals as the 5th seeded team.
Just to give an idea of how good the Hotshots were during this game, they shot better both in their 2-point field goals and from beyond the arc. And the offense of Coach Chito Victolero was more balanced as well as their defense which frustrated Kia which only made 31% of their field goal attempts which made by as much as 29 during the first half alone. The passing game of the Hotshots was fluid. 
Star led during the entire game, holding a lead that never went down beyond 25 points and they did it despite Paul Lee struggling miserably in the field during the entire game, only scoring 2 points in the first half and 4 overall. Acox finished the game with 19 points while grabbing 15 rebounds.
Marc Pingris who energized the crowd with a dunk during the closing minutes of the 3rd quarter finished the game with 12 points, including another dunk at the closing seconds of the game to make him the newest member of the 5,000-point club. 
Jio Jalalon led the Star’s local scorers with 15 points and 7 assists. PJ Simon contributed 13 points off the bench while Ian Sangalang finished with 12.
On the other side, the players of Coach Chris Gavina couldn’t get anything going during the entire game. Geron Johnson for one, led all scorers with 27 points on a miserable 9 of 28 shooting. Only him and Nico Elorde who finished with 15 points are the starters of Kia who scored in double figures. Jackson Corpuz on the other hand, led Kia’s bench with 11 points and 9 rebounds while Eric Camson added 10 markers. As a team, Kia only made 31% of their field goals and got rebounded, 62-41.
Scores:
Star
Acox 19, Jalalon 15, Simon 13, Sangalang 12, Pingris 12, Melton 10, Barroca 10, Reavis 7, Ramos 7, dela Rosa 5, Mendoza 5, Lee 4, Abundo 3, Pascual 2, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0
Kia
Johnson 27, Elorde 15, Corpuz 11, Camson 10, Celda 9, Yee 4, Deutchman 3, Nimes 2, Ballesteros 0, Revilla 0, Guverra 0, Caperal 0, Khobuntin 0, Jaime 0, Salva 0
Quarter scores:
32-24, 65-36, 91-60, 128-81

Hips Don’t Lie: Coach Cautious on Pingris Injury

The Veteran power forward has been the corner stone of Star Hotshots for awhile and unfortunately he has been on the sideline since the start of the season due to a hip injury he acquired last conference.

Not much to worry, it’s healing and he is improving every day. However, the coaches are just being cautious as health has always been a priority for the players and the teams.
Recently spotted at the Gilas 5.0 practice, Pingris could potentially see action at the Manila Clasico match up that will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.

Pingris and Star Hotshots Talks Defense Defense Defense and Hunger for Championship, Greet Ginebra Fans

Marc Pingris was one of the persons who was undeniably excited after defeating Ginebra and breaking a 4 game losing streak in the Manila Clasico Match-up. The Star Forward shares the secret as to why they are winning games recently. He also discussed about key defensive sequences including block shots against Japeth Aguilar. 
Watch below.

Powcast Gilas Pilipinas Player Card: Marc Pingris

Marc Pingris

Marc Pingris was born in Pozorrubio, Pangasinan. Drafted by FedEx Express with the 3rd overall pick in 2004 PBA Draft but was quickly traded to Purefoods TJ Hotdogs. He was an 8x PBA Champion, 2x PBA Finals MVP and selected as one of the PBA’s 40 greatest player.
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