Star needs more from import Kris Acox for Hotshots to stay alive in semis, says Marc Pingris 
Marc Pingris hopes Star import Kris Acox asserts himself more on offense to keep the Hotshots alive in the semis vs Meralco. Jerome Ascano

STA. ROSA, Laguna – Marc Pingris believes import Kris Acox needs to do more if Star is to keep its flickering hopes alive in the PBA Governors Cup semifinals against Meralco.

The veteran forward said Acox has to start asserting himself after playing below expectations in the first two games of the best-of-five duel which the Hotshots both lost.

As it is, Acox was badly outplayed twice by Meralco counterpart Allen Durham, the reigning Best Import of the season-ending tournament.

In Star’s 98-74 loss in Game 2  Tuesday at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex here, Acox finished with only nine points (4-of-12 shooting) and 12 rebounds as he was outscored by guards Mark Barroca (16 points) and rookie Alvin Abundo (14 points).

“As an import, medyo nakukulangan talaga ako sa kanya. So kailangan namin siyang kausapin para mas maging aggressive pa siya,” said the 35-year-old Pingris.

The Pozzorubio, Pangasinan native admitted the opposite case goes for Meralco as Durham has been playing beautiful music with the Bolts ever since he came no board the franchise in last year’s edition of this very same tournament.

“Magaling talaga si Durham, bagay na bagay siya sa Meralco,” said Pingris. “Lahat nagagawa niya para sa team, nako-complement niya ng husto yung mga locals nila.”

Then again, Ping said the 0-2 hole the Hotshots have found themselves in isn’t solely the working of Acox.

“Kaming mga locals, kailangan din namin siyang tulungan,” he admitted.

“Yung opensa namin (Game 2) ang sama, e. Hindi na kami nakaahon,” added Pingris, as the Hotshots fell by as much as 36-13 in the second quarter from which they never recovered.

Making things worse for the Hotshots is the absence of star guard Paul Lee for the rest of the series after re-injuring his left knee in Game One.

“Grabe lahat yata ng kamalasan inabot namin,” said a startled Pingris, who finished with five points and seven rebounds in Game Two.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain in Thursday’s Game Three at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Pingris said the Hotshots should just go out and play their game.

“Laro lang. Enjoy life,” he stressed.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos