Magnolia coach Chito Victolero wants redemption in the upcoming import laden Commissioner’s Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association starting April 22 after losing to champion San Miguerl Beer in the Philippine Cup.
With import Vernon Macklin on board, Victolero is upbeat for their new campaign.
“I do not want to pressure myself and the team. Since I took over as a coach, our goal is to improve everyday. Our goal is to be 1-0, 1-0 every game. We’ll adapt that goal then let’s see where it will take us and we’ll be very happy,” Victolero told The Manila Times on Friday.
“Of course everybody wanted to win a championship and that’s the bigger picture but we’ll start with our day-to-day preparation which is very important,” added Victolero, noting that the Hotshots would return to practice on April 20 since they have no games yet before May.
“All the players need a rest after that championship series with San Miguel Beer. V-Mac (Vernon Macklin) is focusing on his conditioning with our trainers. I think he can get the job done and play against the other imports. He was recommended by our former import Ricardo Ratliffe.”
Victolero expects Justin Melton to be fully healed from his hamstring injury at the start of the second conference to join Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee and veteran Peter June Simon—players that comprise Magnolia’s wall of defense.
Still rehabilitating his injured anterior cruciate ligament, veteran Jean Marc Pingris will not be coming back this conference. Pingris is expected to be sidelined for at least six to eight months.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer’s hardworking playmaker Chris Ross I also expected to miss a few games this second conference because of an aggravated thigh injury.
“He (Ross) played hurt in the finals series. And we are hoping when we play our first game next conference, he will be available to play. But we cannot force him if he’s not okay, so we’re hoping for the best,” said San Miguel Beer team manager Gee Abanilla.
Though in pain, Ross almost posted the league’s first quadruple-double finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and eight steals in San Miguel Beer’s double overtime win (108-99) over Magnolia in Game 6 last week.