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Mitchell stays on

Star coach Chito Victolero expressed his vote of confidence on import Tony Mitchell despite being outplayed by his counterparts in the last two games that saw the Hotshots lose both following a 4-0 start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Mitchell was a picture of frustration in the Hotshots’ defeats to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last April 9 and to the San Miguel Beermen two days ago, adding more concerns to a team that is also dealing with injuries to resident leader Marc Pingris, Justin Melton and Aldrech Ramos.

“Kailangan lang namin i-motivate yan,” Victolero said after Star’s 103-97 setback to San Miguel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. “Meron naman e, andyan naman siya. Kailangan lang natin kausapin at bigyan pa ng motivation. Positibo lang tayo.”

The 6-foot-8 Mitchell, who is averaging 22.0 points and 14.2 rebounds this conference, made a strong impression in the first four games with his explosiveness, allowing Star to win its first four games – three which via lopsided margins.

But Mitchell struggled defending Justin Brownlee, particularly in the fourth quarter of Ginebra’s 113-98 victory that saw Star squandering a 12-point third quarter lead at the Mall of Asia Arena on Palm Sunday.

Easter Sunday was a perfect opportunity for Mitchell to have a resurrection of sorts, but he had no answers for San Miguel import Charles Rhodes, who had his best performance of the conference with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Mitchell later fouled out of the game, thus adding more frustration to an already rough evening.