Winless teams Magnolia and NorthPort hope to finally turn the tables and notch their first wins after making some adjustments ahead of their games against separate foes in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, Feb. 10.
The Hotshots take the centerstage first with new import Antonio Hester when they clash against the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in the first game at 3 p.m. before the Batang Pier aim of finally barging into the win column against Barangay Ginebra Kings in the second offering at 5:45 p.m.
Magnolia uncharacteristically opened the conference with 0-3 start, prompting head coach Chito Victolero to pull the trigger on the import switch after first choice Erik McCree was limited to just 13 points on a measly 4-of-18 shooting from the field in the Hotshots’ 100-98 loss to the San Miguel Beermen.
Hester’s arrival should also bode well for the Hotshots especially on the defensive end as unlike McCree, the former Zamboanga Valientes import plays inside the paint which alleviates the impact of the absence of big man Ian Sangalang.
Hester, who first played for Terrafirma in the PBA, will be facing an immediate test against a hungry and talented Phoenix team led by import Du’Vaughn Maxwell and young guns Encho Serrano and Tyler Tio.
Meanwhile in the second game, NorthPort also hopes to change its fortune with the return of Robert Bolick who just recently came into terms with the management to extend his contract until the end of the season.
Aside from Bolick, former SMB import Kevin Murphy is also set for his PBA return with the Batang Pier, taking the place of Marcus Weathers. NorthPort was also forced to make a change after suffering its fourth straight loss against Phoenix, 108-97.
With the new weapons in store, head coach Bonnie Tan hopes to finally breakthrough although it would be easier said than done against the defending champions.