The investments made by the Magnolia Hotshots in their recruits proved fruitful as they secured a commanding 117-83 victory over the Blackwater Bossing in the PBA On Tour at the Ynares Sports Arena Sunday, May 28.
Abu Tratter, the recently acquired frontliner from Converge, showcased his skills and energy, leading the team to success.
Tratter and team veterans Mark Barroca and Jerrick Ahanmisi shared the scoring honors with 14 points each. However, Tratter’s impact exceeded scoring, demonstrating his prowess on the boards with seven rebounds. His contributions were instrumental in the Hotshots’ victory.
James Laput, acquired from a trade with Terrafirma in late 2021, also played a significant role in the absence of injured frontliners Ian Sangalang and Russell Escoto. Laput recorded an impressive double-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. His presence and versatility on the court helped solidify the Hotshots’ performance.
Adding Tratter and Laput brings hope and excitement to the Magnolia team. Laput expressed his enthusiasm for the potential partnership between himself, Tratter, and Sangalang once the latter returns to full fitness.
“He (Tratter) has been a great addition to our team, him and David (Murrell). They just bought into the system; they bought into the culture. They both know what’s expected of them, and we’re just here to support them. He is just a great teammate along this journey,” said Laput.
Magnolia’s success was not solely dependent on its new recruits. The team received contributions from other players as well. Aris Dionisio impressed with 12 points, including a highlight slam dunk off a Murrell steal. Paul Lee added 11 points, Joseph Eriobu, elevated from Magnolia’s 3X3 team, and Jackson Corpuz chipped 10 points each.
James Sena scored 11 points for the Blackwater Bossing, while Rashawn McCarthy and RK Ilagan contributed 10 points each. Unfortunately, the Bossing failed to replicate their previous victory over NLEX and struggled against the Hotshots.
Magnolia dominated the game, building a substantial lead of 72-32. The team’s strong performance in the first half, including an impressive 11 three-pointers out of their total of 15 attempts, allowed them to establish a commanding 68-30 advantage at halftime.
Although Blackwater made a valiant effort to narrow the gap in the third period, reducing the deficit to 57-90, the Hotshots’ balanced offense and solid defense ensured they maintained control. The Bossing could only come as close as 69-92 before the Hotshots pulled away again.
Despite the preseason victory, Magnolia has also faced challenges with injuries. Ian Sangalang, Calvin Abueva, Jio Jalalon, and Russel Escoto were all sidelined for the game against Blackwater. Escoto suffered an ankle tweak during a training session and is expected to require two to three more weeks to fully recover. Sangalang has been out since March due to an undisclosed illness, while Abueva has been dealing with a knee problem.
However, Abu Tratter’s impactful performance provided a glimmer of hope for the Hotshots, who will face Converge in their next preseason game at the same venue on Wednesday. As the season approaches, Magnolia remains optimistic about the potential of their talented roster and the contributions of their recruits.
Magnolia 117 – Tratter 14, Ahanmisi 14, Barroca 12, Laput 12, Dionisio 12, Lee 11, Corpuz 10, Eriobu 10, Dela Rosa 9, Mendoza 8, Reavis 0.
Blackwater 83 – Sena 11, McCarthy 10, Ilagan 10, Ular 9, Amer 8, Casio 6, Rosario 6, Hill 6, Suerte 6, Escoto 5, Ayonayon 3, Taha 2, Publico 1, DiGregorio 0, Banal 0.
Quarters: 31-19; 68-30; 90-57; 117-83.