The team formerly known as the Star Hotshots was issued a hefty challenge by its greatest player after being renamed the Magnolia Hotshots in an extravagant function held yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“Everytime na nagpapalit ng name, nagcha-champion,” said Alvin Patrimonio, the current team manager who famously won multiple PBA championships when he starred for the franchise that used to carry the Purefoods brand.
The Hotshots gladly accepted Patrimonio’s challenge.
Marc Pingris, who experienced his share of name changes during his 14-year career, believes his team is close to reaching the winner’s circle after falling short last season.
“Siyempre nape-pressure kami diba pero yun ang gusto namin, yung challenge talaga,” Pingris said. “Tsina-challenge din namin ang sarili namin, sa practice pa lang talagang tsina-challenge na namin ang isa’t-isa.”
Star reached the semis in all three conferences, but failed to get over the hump after losses to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the Philippine Cup, San Miguel in the Commissioner’s Cup and Meralco in the Governors’ Cup.
A new name usually brings significant changes to the club, and Magnolia hopes to make it a reality, particularly with several pieces added to the puzzle.
Fil-American shooter Robbie Herndon was acquired in a trade after being picked sixth by GlobalPort in last month’s PBA Rookie Draft while Bambam Gamalinda and Kyle Pascual look to make significant impact for Magnolia after being shipped from Blackwater in a trade in last season’s Governors’ Cup.
But Magnolia coach Chito Victolero will once again lean on Pingris and Paul Lee, who is eager to play in better form after undergoing surgery on his left knee.
“Everything’s fine. Maganda naman ang recovery ko. May mahihirap na rin na pinapagawa sa akin na di naman nagrereact yung injury so maganda talaga yung recovery,” said Lee.