On Tour exhibition? Laput says ‘basketball is basketball’ | Inquirer Sports

On Tour exhibition? Laput says ‘basketball is basketball’

Magnolia big man James Laput. –PBA IMAGES

Magnolia big man James Laput. –PBA IMAGES

PBA On Tour games are considered exhibition and preparatory in nature, but Magnolia’s James Laput sees them as something more.

“I think the main thing that is setting us apart from other teams is that even though this is a preseason tournament, and a lot of maybe players, analysts and article writers are treating this as tuneup games, basketball is still basketball,” Laput said after the Hotshots improved to a perfect 6-0 on Friday.


“It’s a blessing to play this game and you don’t know when it’s your last,” he added, after another solid showing that resulted in the 125-89 rout of NorthPort at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. “And I think that’s the mentality the team is embracing. You’re only as good as your last game.”


The Hotshots are in top form in the series, which they hope would be beneficial once the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season tips off in October.

Big minutes

Their perfect record is anchored on a rotation that may be unfamiliar to regular league followers—the same type of roster most teams are using. Magnolia has been giving big minutes to guys like Laput, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Jackson Corpuz, Rome dela Rosa and Jed Mendoza, guys who are usually second or third-tier players on coach Chito Victolero’s rotation.

“It’s a good opportunity for these players, so that when the regular season starts, they already know their role and that they won’t have a hard time adjusting,” said Victolero.

“The good thing about it is that they’re not only improving, individually, but our chemistry is also improving,” added the Magnolia mentor.

Calvin Abueva has not seen action throughout the On Tour, while the minutes of Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and the returning Ian Sangalang are not as heavy as in the games that count, prompting the less-heralded Hotshots to pick up the slack.

Laput may not like what he had done against NorthPort owing to the opposition’s activity in the paint, but he still managed to register 15 points and seven rebounds to continue a solid On Tour stint.


Ahanmisi knocked down five triples to finish with 23 points, while Mendoza’s quarterbacking chores resulted in 11 points and seven assists while Joseph Eriobu, who is hoping to get a crack at the Hotshots roster after a lengthy stint in the PBA 3×3, also had another solid showing.

“It doesn’t matter what type of game it is,” said Laput. “We’re putting in all the efforts and it’s paying off.”

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TAGS: James Laput, PBA

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