MANILA – Hopes are high within the Magnolia Hotshots organization as they head into the new season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The Hotshots have switched banners, from Star to Magnolia, and they are optimistic that the change in brands will augur well for the squad as they seek to win their first title since the 2013-14 season.
"Challenge ito for them, because every time na nag-switch ng name, nagcha-champion," Magnolia team manager and PBA icon Alvin Patrimonio said during the official unveiling of their new name last week.
For the Hotshots, the challenge issued by the "Captain" is one that they are very willing to take on.
"Siyempre, na-pressure kami," admitted veteran forward Marc Pingris.
"Pero kaya kami andito sa team na 'to, 'yun ang gusto namin," he also added. "'Yung challenge talaga. China-challenge din namin ang sarili namin."
Guard Paul Lee, who is looking to recover from a nagging knee injury in time to play in the season opener, says a title will be a fitting way to usher in the team's "new chapter."
"We wish na… mapa-champion namin kasi 'yun nga, new name, parang new chapter sa lahat sa amin," said Lee. "Magandang challenge 'yun para sa amin."
"Sana, makapag-respond kami sa gusto ni boss," he added.
Switching names has served as a good omen for the Hotshots franchise before. Notably, they won the 2013 PBA Governors' Cup after rebranding as San Mig Coffee following two seasons of playing under the B-Meg Banner.
"Every time na magpalit ng pangalan, magpalit ng brand, mayroon talagang positive na mangyayari," said Patrimonio.
"Let's see. Siyempre, maaga ang preparation ng team, and intact naman, so I'm sure malayo ang mararating ng team," he added.
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