Chito Victolero feels giving up Maliksi to get big man for future in Kyle Pascual just fair for Star
Chito Victolero felt letting Allein Maliksi go was worth it as Star found an able big man in Kyle Pascual and a wing defender in Bambam Gamalinda. Jaime Campos

WHEN you want something valuable, you have to give up something of value.

Star coach Chito Victolero felt that way as he was simply forced to let Allein Maliksi go in the team’s search for a big man that can add to the Hotshots’ ceiling for the present and future – who turned out to be Kyle Pascual.

“Naghahanap talaga kami ng bigs na makakatulong din sa amin in terms of matching up with other teams,” Victolero said over the phone on the eve of their PBA Governors’ Cup matchup against Globalport on Friday night in explaining the trade that sent Maliksi and Chris Javier to Blackwater, and the 6-foot-6 Pascual and Bambam Gamalainda to Star.

“Ang tinamaan lang ay si Allein. Siya yung napili din ng Blackwater,” he added, referring to the main piece of the deal that sought to improve the Hotshots’ chances of matching up against tall sister squads San Miguel Beer and Ginebra, bannered by June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter, respectively.

And with their cumulative record this season, the Hotshots are set to select in the lower tier of the upcoming draft, picking either ninth or 10th overall.

“We think na wala kaming abutan din na big man eh,” Victolero said.

Asked if he feels they wound up getting the shorter end of the stick in the transaction, considering they gave up Maliksi, Victolero stuck to the positives.

“Meron kaming nawala, meron din kaming mage-gain in terms dun sa trade na yun,” Victolero said. “Mawawalan kami ng streak shooter, but meron naman kaming na-gain na big man at defender na si Bambam.”

“Ganun naman eh (may lugi),” he added. “Tingnan lang natin sa future. Yun naman ang inaano namin eh. in terms of Allein, wala naman tayong masasabi dun sa bata eh. Talagang he works hard, kung paano niya nakuha yung status niya ngayon, alam ko kung paano din siya magtrabaho.”

“Siya lang yung nasapul dun sa trade,” he continued. “Meron kaming kailangan at gusto din siya ng Blackwater. Fair lang naman yan.”

Victolero said Pascual and Gamalinda are making their debuts in the game against the Batang Pier at 7 p.m., but will most likely be observers.

“Naka-suit up sila, pero tingnan pa natin kung paano natin sila mama-maximize,” Victolero said. “Basta right now, hindi natin sila bibigyan ng pressure hangga’t makuha nila yung sistema at aming chemistry. At pag ready na sila, dun natin sila ilalaban.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos