DESPITE the impending change of import, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero expressed confidence the incoming reinforcement will be able to adjust quickly with the Hotshots.
Magnolia is set to change imports after Vernon Macklin got the team's permission to accept an offer to play in China’s minor league the National Basketball League. Macklin’s last game for the Hotshots will be on Friday against Meralco.
Victolero, though, is not worried as the Hotshots will have the luxury of time to adjust to a new import.
“From the start, alam na namin na aalis siya for the NBL. We had an agreement that he will play in our first four games para lang may time na we can find an import,” said Victolero on Wednesday following the Hotshots’ 126-101 win over Columbian on Wednesday.
“Ang maganda sa schedule namin, after Friday, we have a two-week break. Siguro naman makakahanap na kami ng import before our game on June 2,” said Victolero.
The June 2 match is against Rain or Shine.
Victolero said the Hotshots already have a shortlist although he declined to name the imports on that list. The Hotshots coach is confident though they will have an import by this weekend.
“Right now, wala pang nagco-confirm pero we have a short list sa mga imports. Hopefully, ma-close na namin this week. Ang target namin, makarating siya Sunday, at the latest sana Monday,” said Victolero.
Victolero said Ricardo Ratliffe, Magnolia’s import last year, is not part of the shortlist. Ratliffe is Korea’s naturalized player.
“Nasa clause niya sa national team ng Korea na hindi siya puwedeng maglaro outside Korea,” said Victolero.
While changing imports midway in the conference is not a situation they liked, Victolero’s hope is that the new import will complement well with the locals.
“Mahirap kaso wala kaming choice eh. Ang akin lang, sana makahanap kami ng import na magko-complement sa tinatakbo ng locals namin. Maraming pinagpipilian pero we will try to find the right import para sa amin,” said Victolero.