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    COLUMN: The way he's playing, Bishop may soon be anointed pope

    Feb 11, 2022
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    CHICAGO - While preparing his team against powerhouse TNT Tropang Giga yesterday, Magnolia Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero text messaged me some of his concerns.

    "Ready naman po kami sa game later and hope na sana makakuha kami ng momentum and worry ko po yung timing and rhythm naman since ang tagal ng break bago makalaro ulit," Victolero said.

    His fears turned out to be unfounded.

    Victolero's boys looked anything but sloppy in their slow but forceful strangulation of TNT, 96-93, at a spanking arena named after their victims' corporate parent.

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      It was another team effort by Magnolia with Paul Lee (15 points) Mark Barroca (7 assists) and Calvin Abueva (6 points and limitless defensive intensity) leaving their fingerprints all over the crime scene.

      But import Mike Harris was clearly the shining star.

      The former Houston Rocket imposed his will on the hapless Tropang Giga, dominating with 41 points and 18 rebounds while shooting an efficient 16-of-26 from the field.

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      Tony Bishop Meralco vs NLEX

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      Aaron Fuller - TNT's replacement import for the injured McKenzie Moore - acquitted himself well with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

      Unfortunately, those are June Mar Fajardo numbers, not from a top-dollar import who is expected to carry much of the heavy-lifting in an import-laden conference.

      Capiche?

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      IN FAIRNESS TO FULLER, HE SHOT ONLY 16 FIELD GOALS, WHICH LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT HE WASN'T THE FOCAL POINT OF THE TROPA OFFENSE.

      That responsibility fell on the lap of Mikey Wiliams, who neglected his duties by bricking 14 of 21 field goals on the way to 17 points. Mikey was also harassed into coughing three turnovers.

      Although it lost the assists battle, 23-17, Magnolia conquered the boards, 54-43, and had two less turnovers than TNT's 12.

      Roger Pogoy was out with a calf injury. The Tropa could have used his outside shooting to space the floor more and unclog the middle. Without RR, TNT made only 34 of 78 shots (43.5 percent) and 13 of 35 from 3 (37 percent).

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        Pogoy's injury brings to light legitimate questions on whether TNT players have become more vulnerable to injuries at this time when they are cramming PBA games while also preparing to suit up for Gilas in the upcoming FIBA window.

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        Pogoy told me their practices are "ok naman" and he also texted me that this is the first time he has dealt with a calf injury.

        Based on my experiences covering NBA players who have sustained calf injuries. Pogoy, depending on the severity of the strain or tear, can be in for a rude awakening.

        BISHOP TO POPE. If he keeps on balling like this, Tony Bishop might get anointed as the next Pope.

        The Meralco import whipped another all-around effort that allowed the Bolts to beat NLEX like it was child's play, 110-100.

        Bishop finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and eight dimes, easily overshadowing KJ McDaniels of NLEX who exploded for 41 but only had 2 assists.

        But the most important stat lies in the standings where the Bolts are 3-0.

        Norman Black is the most underrated coach in the PBA. If he has the budget and manpower of teams like TNT , SMB and Ginebra, this man can't be beat.

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        Enough said.

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