STAR coach Chito Victolero believes Kristofer Acox’s performance in the team’s 89-77 win over NLEX on in their PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinal matchup continued to validate their decision to change imports late in the regular season.
Acox led the Hotshots’ late push, scoring 10 of his 21 points in the payoff period, and finishing with 12 boards, three assists, two steals, and one block in 39 minutes on the way to leading his team to a semifinal berth.
“Tamang-tama lang yung (pag-) peak namin, and tamang-tama lang yung pagpalit ng import namin,” Victolero said. “Marami ang nagsasabi kung bakit kami nagpalit deep sa elimination, but that’s the goal: we want to control the defense, we want to control the defense, and everything. Yun lang naman talaga yung kulang namin.”
“And si Kristofer, he did a good job sa mga weakness namin,” he added.
The 6-foot-5 Acox, who won’t turn 24 until October 13, is hoping to continue repaying the trust of Victolero after replacing wing import Malcolm Hill.
“I hope so,” Acox said. “They brought me here for playing defense against bigger guys and other imports, rebounding, and other stuff. Malcolm, the other import, he's a great player, [but] maybe we didnt play the same game."
“They kinda felt like they needed more with inside presence, and I just try to be that guy for them,” added the Icelandic cager, who has led his team to 3-1 record – the last three resulting in wins – since he arrived.
Undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft, Acox is happy to be making a deep playoff run in his first-ever professional stint.
“It's huge, man,” Acox said. “It's my first time in here, and making it into the playoffs is big. Making it into the semis is even bigger. We played a tough team, and we got to give them a lot of credit. They're a good team with a lot of good players."
“We don't know yet who we play, but what we do know is we'll focus on ourselves and try to get better for the next matchup,” he added.