Miguel La Torre
Photo by Angela Davocol/The LANCE.
Despite the loss, Magnolia Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero was glad to help out Jerrick Balanza, in a tune-up game that saw the Northport Batang Pier eke out a 94-90 win against the Hotshots, held at the Blessed Antonio Varona gymnasium.
“Ang maganda dito is we played for a cause, we played for Jerrick and also it’s a way of the Magnolia Hotshots of helping Jerrick also sa kung anumang pinagdadaanan niya ngayon,” the soft-spoken mentor told The LANCE.
Victolero also commended his wards for competing at a high level despite playing in a no-bearing match.
"Very special. I told to my players na nagawa na namin ‘yung gusto naming gawin which is to play competitive basketball, at the same time, nakatulong kami kay Jerrick," said Victolero in an interview with Spin.PH
"I'm very happy na nakapagshare kami for a cause like this,” he added.
With the PBA draft lurking, The LANCE asked the PBA coach regarding Bong Quinto and JP Calvo. The former Mapuan then spoke highly of Letran’s graduating duo.
“Right now, hindi ko pa ‘yan naiisip because I’m focusing on this conference. I don’t know, maybe kapag malapit na ‘yung drafting, that’s the time to think but I know these two guys are very talented and very skilled players and kahit naman saang team mapunta ‘yan, they can help,” he explained.
Also spotted inside the age-old gym is former Letran Knight and 1979 NCAA Champion Angelito Esguerra who serves as an assistant coach for the Hotshots.
“Masaya ako na bumalik ako sa Alma Mater ko. Nakita ko ‘yung lumang gym natin,” the former Knight said.
Compared to his stint in 1979, the Marketing Management graduate was quick to point out what changed in the old gymnasium.
“Wala, nagkaroon lang ng aircon. Ganun pa rin ang board, nabago lang ang frame,” he said.