Hot­shots look­ing for­ward to Gov­er­nors’ Cup

Tempo - - Front Page - By JEROME LAGUNZAD

Games Wed­nes­day (Smart-Araneta Coli­seum) 4:15 p.m. – Kia vs Phoenix 7 p.m. – Alaska vs NLEX

Star is re­gain­ing its win­ning form of old un­der first-year coach Chito Vic­tolero and the Hot­shots are keen on mak­ing big­ger strides mov­ing for­ward.

Af­ter reach­ing the semi­fi­nals stage in the past two con­fer­ences, the Hot­shots are de­ter­mined to du­pli­cate – or even sur­pass – such feat in the 2017 PBA Gov­er­nors’ Cup where they will come in anew as one of the ti­tle fa­vorites.

But Vic­tolero, con­fi­dent as he may be with his vastly-im­prov­ing local cast which will be beefed up by for­mer Auburn Univer­sity stand­out Cin­meon Bow­ers, isn’t ea­ger to look that far ahead.

“Ang mind­set namin, elim­i­na­tions muna. It’s very hard na pag­isi­pan agad ‘yung semis. Af­ter that, tsaka na namin iisipin kung hang­gang saan kami makakarat­ing,” he ad­mit­ted in a re­cent in­ter­view.

“Siyem­pre ‘yung big­ger pic­ture, malam­pasan namin ‘yung naachieve namin. Pero hindi mo na­man ma­g­a­gawa ‘yun on a sin­gle step. Kailan­gan lang dire-di­retso, mag­tu­long-tu­long ulit para makuha ‘yun.”

Such proven for­mula will come to the fore anew as the Hot­shots will rely anew on its talented core built around top guard Paul Lee, wing­man Allein Ma­liksi and big man Ian San­galang who are all ex­pected to de­liver am­ple num­bers to fill up the void left by do-it-all for­ward Marc Pin­gris who con­tin­ues to deal with an in­jured hip.

Solid rookie Jio Jalalon could also miss a con­sid­er­able time since he is serv­ing his na­tional team com­mit­ments with Gi­las Pilip­inas in the Jones Cup com­pe­ti­tion in Tai­wan.

The for­mer Arel­lano U star point guard could also see ac­tion in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, set from Au­gust 8 to 20 in Beirut, Le­banon, as he’s been part of the 24-strong train­ing pool named by na­tional team coach Chot Reyes.

And that’s where the need for the 6-foot-5 Bow­ers to make an im­pact will come into play. “He’s an all-around player. Pa­sok na pa­sok siya sa sis­tema namin,” said Vic­tolero of the 24-year-old Racine, Wis­con­sin na­tive who last played in Is­rael.

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