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PBA: Hotshots coach shrugs off loss

By jerome lagunzad

Trust the process.

That’s how Star coach Chito Victolero is keeping things in perspective after youthful import Malcolm Hill and the Hotshots gave defending champion Barangay Ginebra all they could handle before dropping a 105-101 decision in overtime in the 2017 PBA Governors Cup last Sunday.

The Hotshots, utilizing their quickness to the hilt, practically dictated the tempo all game long and put the Gin Kings in an uncomfortable position, only to run out of steam during a tense-filled finish that kept the big crowd of more than 15,000 on the edge of their seats.

“It all boiled down to the breaks of the game,” said Victolero, keeping himself in high spirits despite his team’s second straight loss following an impressive 4-0 start that dropped Star into a tie from fourth to fifth spots with idle Rain or Shine.

“I’m very happy on the efforts and the aggressiveness shown by my players. That’s what we’ve been talking about: do your best effort, be aggressive and follow the game plan. We want to have a close game (against Ginebra).”

And the Hotshots nearly got more than what Victolero wanted as they pushed a favored and towering Gin Kings side to their limit.

Hill certainly impressed Victolero anew as he overcame another shooting struggle by draining three pressure packed freebies that forced the extra five-minute period and finishing with a double-double performance of 28 points and 12 rebounds in 47 tireless minutes of play before fouling out late in overtime.

“Malcolm played a very good game and I am happy for him,” said the Star’s first-year mentor. “Talagang ‘yung effort na binigay niya at ‘yung heart na binigay niya sa last three free throws, okay ‘yun. I think ‘yung bata nag-i-improve naman.”

For now, Victolero said the Hotshots are sticking with Hill, the youngest import at 21 years old, and the St. Louis, Missouri native has another chance to prove his true worth in another acid test in the form of formidable Meralco on Saturday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Laguna.