July 26, 2017, 2:41 am
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Star Hotshots still not in full strength

STAR’s first assignment in the season-ending PBA Governors Cup is fast approaching and the Hotshots are getting better with each passing day.

Yet coach Chito Victolero is hoping for more time for import Cinmeon Bowers to regain his desired form and prized player Marc Pingris to get back into game shape.

“Sana mga two weeks pa man lang,” said Victolero, whose team plunges into action against Blackwater on Jan. 23, determined to at least reprise its semifinal stints in the season’s first two conferences.

“Wala pa kasi sa full strength ang team,” added Victolero. “Mga nasa 75 to 80 percent pa lang ang import namin at si Ping hindi pa makakalaro, at least sa first two games namin.”

Bowers is seeing action for the first time since suiting up in Puerto Rico last April. Steadily, Bowers has shown improvement based on his performances in practice and in tune-up games against Phoenix and GlobalPort.

“Hinahabol namin sa kanya ‘yung conditioning, kasi medyo matagal-tagal siyang na-layoff. So timing, iyung mga ganoon, wala pa, kulang pa. Pero unti-unti nag-i-improve naman siya,” Victolero said.

Pingris underwent correction procedure at the Movement Performance Institute in Los Angeles to repair the hip injury that kept him out of the entire Commissioner’s Cup.

The 35-year-old forward is set to return to the country tomorrow but will take about three weeks more before he can play.

“Si Ping dating sa Wednesday tapos continuous rehab pa para sa conditioning, rhythm, lahat,” said Victolero, wishing he could fast-track Pingris’ recovery period but knows he couldn’t.

“Ito conference ni Ping, sana makasama namin siya,” stated Victolero. “Kasi nga ang mga imports 6-foot-5 kaya match-up siya talaga. Kailangang-kailangan namin siya sa conference na ito, pero hindi namin siya mamadaliin.”

In the meantime, Victolero is hoping the rest of his squad stays healthy as their preparations shift into high gear, including another tune-up game, this time against Ginebra, today.

“That’s the only thing na wish namin, para kapag nag-umpisa ang tournament nasa mga 90 percent na si Bowers at pagbalik naman ni Ping 100 percent ready na siya,” said Victolero.
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