PBA: Magnolia building a winning culture in preseason, says Mark Barroca
MANILA, Philippines—As early as now, Magnolia is trying its best to establish a winning culture before the official PBA season rolls in a few months.
So far, the Hotshots are heading in the right direction having won all of their four games in the PBA On Tour.
Magnolia stayed unbeaten after turning back Barangay Ginebra, 91-80, on Sunday in Antipolo. Skipper Mark Barroca, however, doesn’t want to put too much into the Hotshots’ perfect record considering the real games have yet to begin.
“We want to improve. We haven’t proven anything now. We want to reach a different level of basketball. That’s what we’re bringing in these games. This isn’t the season yet, this is just the preseason so we’re trying to build a winning culture,” Barroca said in Filipino.
“Sometimes, we even get too physical in practice.”
The high-level competition in practice has made wonders, especially for James Laput and Jerrick Ahanmisi. Laput and Ahanmisi had limited impact last season but their promising play in the preseason could lead to bigger roles in the upcoming season.
Barroca led Magnolia with 20 points, five assists and three steals against Ginebra while Laput and Ahanmisi also provided significant contributions in the victory.
Laput nearly notched a double-double with eight points and 12 rebounds while Ahanmisi made five 3-pointers en route to a 17-point effort off the bench with star guard Paul Lee having an off night.
“Every game and practice that I go to, we really all compete not just in the game but also in practice. Coach (Chito Victolero) likes what we’re doing, which is building confidence in each other,” Barroca said.
The 6-foot-10 Laput is averaging 12.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game while Ahanmisi, known for his sweet shooting, contributes 13.7 points a night.
Magnolia was booted out in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Governors’ Cup last March.