Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said the team relied on Muhammad’s highlights to scout the SMB import after they were formally informed about the import change after its practice last Saturday.
Victolero on defense vs Shabazz Muhammad
“Ang mabigat doon, they have a new import. On our last practice, wala pa kaming idea kung sino ang pinaghahandaan namin,” said Victolero. “Nung lumabas ‘yung memo, parang tapos na ang ensayo namin.”
The 29-year-old Muhammad came to San Miguel with much fanfare, and in his first game, he tallied 27 points and 17 rebounds, but his production didn’t produce a victory over Magnolia. The Hotshots won in a blowout, 104-87, with Muhammad committing eight turnovers and missing seven of his 12 free throw attempts.
The win enabled Magnolia to secure a quarterfinal berth with a 7-1 win-loss record.
Victolero said Magnolia did a decent job on Muhammad, who was noticeably guarded by Rafi Reavis for most of the game.
“We just tried na tumingin na lang sa highlights. Sobrang explosive nga nung import. We just tried to adjust during the game kung ano ang puwede naming i-adjust para kahit papaano, ma-contain namin siya,” said Victolero.
“We gave him iba-ibang depensa. We gave him Adrian Wong at the start, and then si Aris (Dionisio), and after that, si Rafi. Pinagpapalit palit namin. Alam namin na wala pa siya sa kundisyon. ‘Yung game shape niya siguro wala pa pero maganda rin talaga ‘yung dinepensa ng mga bata,” said Victolero.
“With the leadership of Mike (Harris), Paul (Lee), and Rafi, maganda ‘yung tinakbo namin lalo na sa depensa namin. ‘Yun ang pinaghandaan namin,” he added.
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