After Abueva trade, Magnolia still eyeing another big in PBA Draft
MANILA, Philippines — Head coach Chito Victolero thinks Magnolia still has some frontline issues that need to be fixed despite the addition of Calvin Abueva.
Magnolia acquired Abueva from Phoenix for Chris Banchero and the rights to the sixth and 18th overall picks in the PBA Draft this March.
Fortunately for Victolero, the Hotshots still have the 10th pick they got from the Fuel Masters as part of the surprise deal to address those concerns.
Victolero is confident that a quality big will still fall on Magnolia’s lap with the 2021 draft class considered by many as one of the deepest in league history.
Among the bigs that have gotten his attention are Santi Santillan, Larry Muyang, Ben Adamos and James Laput.
“We’re looking at some and we’ve already invited them in our practices starting Monday,” Victolero said in Filipino in a story on the PBA website.
“We’ve already seen them play in their games before but of course, it’s different when you see them in their actual state and at the same time to see them playing with our players.”
The injury to Marc Pingris, whose leadership and veteran presence are invaluable to Magnolia, was a crucial blow to the Hotshots’ frontcourt.
Minus Pingris in last season’s Philippine Cup bubble, Magnolia rode heavily on Ian Sangalang while also relying on old reliable Rafi Reavis and forward Jackson Corpuz.
“That’s why we need another big. We’ll see in the draft,” said Victolero.