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Harris, Hotshots eye finals return



Magnolia is eyeing for another finals appearance when it sees action in the upcoming Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup.

Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero said things are now working smoothly within the squad as they finally welcomed Mike Harris to boost their firepower for the first-ever return of foreign imports since 2019.

Victolero said Harris is now working his way back to shape and adjusting with the team’s system, giving them bright hopes for another dominating run this coming conference.

“The addition of Mike Harris is a big factor because of his leadership skills, rebounding prowess, and steadiness,” Victolero said.

“He has already started training with us last Tuesday and he is beginning to learn our system.”

Harris’ arrival was just in time as Magnolia just recently added more ceiling to its frontcourt.

A former best import of the conference in 2018, the 38-year old reinforcement is tipped to anchor the team’s stacked frontcourt bannered by Ian Sangalang, Calvin Abueva, Rafi Reavis, Rome Dela Rosa and newcomers James Laput and Russel Escoto.

The 28-year-old Laput was sent to Magnolia in a recent trade that shipped veteran playmaker Justin Melton and Kyle Pascual to Terrafirma.

Escoto, meanwhile, was acquired by the Hotshots early this season, but wasn’t able to suit up in the Philippine Cup due to a nagging shoulder injury.

Dela Rosa, for his part, will return to the squad after signing a fresh three-year deal on Saturday.

With the league likely to move its schedule to December, Victolero said his wards are upbeat that they still have plenty of time to solidify their chemistry heading to the import-spiced tourney.

The squad is eyeing to bounce back from its bitter runner-up finish against Philippine Cup champion TNT Tropang Giga.

“With the addition of Russel Escoto and also James Laput to fill in our team, I hope they can contribute on where we’re falling short on such as rebounding, and defensive presence,” Victolero said.