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Jun 11, 2019

Hotshots parade Farr vs Ibeh, Batang Pier

ONE loss is not enough to take the fight out of Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok, more so if that defeat came in its first game of the conference.

"Okay naman kami," said coach Chito Victolero,referring to his Hotshots' mind-set following a 23-point drubbing from Alaska last Wednesday.

"Umpisa pa lang ng tournament kaya there's enough time to recover."

To get on track, Magnolia has tapped the services of James Farr when the Hotshots take on the NorthPort Batang Pier Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

NorthPort is gunning for a second straight win and fifth in six games overall that would give it a share of the lead with idle Blackwater.

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However, the Batang Pier have to deal with a relative unknown in Farr and the Hotshots' built-in motivation.

No less than Victolero bared the import change Tuesday, saying Farr arrived last Monday and has so far been doing well in his crash course on the type of game Magnolia plays.

The chief tactician just hopes the short time frame is enough to prepare Farr for the NorthPort game.

" Iyung chemistry lang namin with our new import 'yung concern, but sa tingin ko makaka-adjust naman siya," said Victolero.

Farr is listed at 6-foot-10, a former Xavier Musketeer and has mostly seen action in Europe after going undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft. He comes in as a replacement for John Fields, who reinforced Columbian in the same tourney last season, but notched only 12 points and six boards in his first game back.

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Even without the import change and because of the defeat, Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio believes the Hotshots remain a legitimate contender in the mid-season tournament.

"Magnolia is a strong team coming from a loss. For sure they will bounce back," said Jarencio.

"We have to play aggressive and consistent the whole game, defensively and offensively."

Similar thoughts are in the mind of Victolero.

"We just need to bring back iyung old Magnolia Hotshots basketball, which is our aggressiveness and discipline on defense at 'yung ball movement namin on offense. We had only 13 assists last game," said Victolero. " But I think we can have very good preparation for this game."

Magnolia ought to.

Prince Ibeh is not as high-scoring as the other imports, norming just 15.6 points a night. But he has done his job on the other end with an average of 17.4 rebounds and 3.6 blocks, a tournament-high.

Besides, NorthPort has enough offensive weapons in Robert Bolick, Sean Anthony, Mo Tautuaa, Garvo Lanete, Jonathan Grey and Stanley Pringle, if he's healthy enough.

Pringle sat out the SMB game due to recurring pain on his right ankle, which needed pre-conference surgery due to bone spurs.

Jarencio has said his star playmaker should be good to go against Magnolia. (NC)