For Magnolia coach Chito Victolero, Chris Banchero being available was an opportunity he could not let slip away.
That then prompted the Hotshots to make a move for the star guard, sending sophomore Robbie Herndon and veteran big man Rodney Brondial to the Milkmen just to acquire his services.
“Actually, dumating lang naman ‘yung offer na ‘yan. I don’t want na palampasin kasi medyo maganda ‘yung chance na makuha ko siya. And we feel malaking tulong siya sa amin,” Victolero said.
“Hindi naman ‘yun talaga kailangang kailangan, but ‘yung opportunity, sayang. ‘Yun ‘yung panghihinayanagan ko kung ‘di ko kunin.”
Victolero welcomed the Fil-Italian cager on Monday in the Hotshots’ practice at the Ronac Art Center in San Juan. And the seasoned mentor was indeed thrilled to have Banchero on board.
“Before he practiced, nag-usap muna kami, breakfast meeting. He’s very excited, we’re very excited [as well as] sa management,” shared Victolero moments after the session.
Trading for Banchero has been Magnolia’s biggest deal since sending two-time MVP James Yap to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in exchange for Paul Lee about three years ago.
But according to rumors that have persisted for days now, this may not just be the only trade involving the Hotshots. Asked if there will be more moves, though, Victolero said he doesn’t know.
“Right now, I don’t know. Sabi ko naman sa mga nakakausap ko, walang definite na mag-stay siya or ‘di siya magste-stay. ‘Yun din ang sabi ni gov (Rene Pardo) sa amin last Saturday,” the reigning Coach of the Year said.
“Walang regular na talagang naka-stay. Everybody, even the four-time MVP Ramon Fernandez, sabi niya na-trade siya. Even James Yap, na-trade. Even Paul Lee na-trade. Even Stanley Pringle.“
That, however, doesn’t mean that the team is closing its doors should an offer come around and knock.
“Ang sinasabi lang is kung ano man mangyari, we’re ready lang. ‘Di ko naman pwedeng sabihin na sinasara ko ‘yung pinto dun kasi ‘yung changes, ‘yan naman talagang mangyayari eh,” added the third-year Hotshots chief tactician.
“Walang permanente. Laging may changes. Ang sa amin lang, we just try to be ready. Hindi natin alam kung anong mangyayari.”
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