STAR coach Chito Victolero rued anther sub-par showing from Kristofer Acox that factored heavily in the team’s 91-88 overtime loss to Meralco in Game Three of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series that eliminated the Hotshots in the season-ending conference.
After averaging 17 points, 14.3 boards, and 2.7 assists in three games in the eliminations and tallying 21 points, 12 boards, and three assists in their quarterfinal win over NLEX, the Hotshots import failed to score in double digits in three games in the Final Four.
The Icelandic big man scored just four points on 2-of-9 shooting in almost 35 minutes in Game Three as he wound up averaging just 6.7 points, although he grabbed 12.3 rebounds.
“I think hindi lang siya naka-adjust dito sa semis,” Victolero said. “Yung pagka-agresibo niya sa quarters, yun yung hinahanap ko sa kanya na nawala eh, because during the quarterfinals and pag dating niya dito, he’s so aggressive. I saw him na yung kanyang energy, nandun eh.”
“But sa semis, after ng Game One, parang nawala eh,” he added. “I don’t know what happened.”
Still, Victolero thanked Acox, who turns 24 on October 23, and is hoping for the import to use this setback as a learning experience.
“Thankful pa rin kay Kris kasi he brought us to the semifinals,” Victolero said. “It’s another experience for him and kailangan lang niya i-improve yung other aspects ng laro niya. But I know he’s young and he can improve that.”
With his performance leaving much to be desired and the Hotshots missing the services of injured Paul Lee, it was Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris, and Jio Jalalon who stepped up and led the team’s last stand.
“I'm very proud of my players,” Victolero said. “They fought hard, even without Paul, we know na we're underdogs but yung game namin, talagang binigay na nila lahat. I'm very happy, I'm very proud.”
“I'm also very thankful to them for the whole season,” he added. “Sabi nga nila, Grand Slam kami sa semis eh. No excuses but considering na it's a new system, madaming new players, new coach, we achieved something this year. I'm very happy althouh yun nga, hindi kami naka over the hump dun sa semis. Everything na na-gain namin, dadalhin namin yan next season.”