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Victolero crosses fingers to get Abueva, Dela Rosa back by playoffs

Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero hopes for the quick recovery of his injured players to further bolster their 2021-22 PBA Governors’ Cup campaign.

The 2018 Coach of the Year hasn’t had the luxury of having a complete squad at his disposal since the conference resumed last Friday, as Calvin Abueva, Rome Dela Rosa, and rookie big man James Laput are all hurt.

“Hopefully, ‘yung mga injured players namin, sana makabalik in time,” he said moments after the Hotshots’ 112-109 come-from-behind victory versus NLEX, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Kailangan namin sila.”

The ‘Beast’ was the latest to add to Magnolia’s woes due to a slight tear on his calf, which he got in their 96-93 win over TNT last Friday.

Abueva was actually able to finish the game that saw him collect six points, thus the surprise of his team when they found out about his condition. The 34-year-old could be out for two to three weeks, Victolero said.

Before he went down, the Hotshots were already dealing with the absences of Dela Rosa and Laput. The former suffered a hamstring injury, while the former is set to undergo surgery to get rid of bone spurs on his ankle.

“I heard that Calvin will be out for two to three weeks, and then Rome, until siguro next week. Hopefully, we can have Rome next week,” Victolero said.

The three were out of Magnolia’s clash with the Road Warriors, and the team badly missed their services when they went down by 14 late in the third.

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Fortunately for Victolero, the veteran smarts of Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, and import Mike Harris came to play. And they went on to complete the rally en route to stretch their unbeaten run to five.

“It’s hard for us. Kasi, you know, our three-guy, our three-spot, medyo pilay talaga. We don’t have Calvin, and then Rome, and then Aris [Dionisio] is not 100-percent. Most of the players, medyo pagod na rin,” said Victolero.

“But you know, because of their mental toughness, we carried on. Kumbaga, nagawa namin ang gusto naming gawin.”

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Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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