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Star looking forward to PBA Governors’ Cup

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 pag-isipan 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 na-achieve 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.