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Star's Victolero rues lack of aggressiveness from Acox in semis, but still grateful for import's contributions

Kris Acox during Game 3 of the Star - Meralco semifinal series, Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum | PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines — Star head coach Chito Victolero can’t help but notice the lackluster showing of his import when his team’s season ended against Meralco in the PBA Governor's Cup semifinals on Thursday night.

With the Hotshots’ backs against the wall, Icelandic reinforcement Kristofer Acox, who had been providing a big boost since joining the team, was barely felt. With only four points coming from him and the squad missing Paul Lee, they simply ran out of gas in overtime.

“I think ‘di lang siya naka-adjust sa [semifinals,]” Victolero offered. “‘Yung pagka-agresibo niya, ayun ‘yung hinahanap ko sa kanya na nawala eh.”

“Pagdating niya dito, he was so aggressive. I saw him na ‘yung kanyang energy nandoon eh. But now, after semis Game One nga, nawala eh. I don’t know what happened.”

Acox, who joined Star’s fold in its last three elimination games, averaged a double-double. His strong outing poured into the playoffs when they took on NLEX. He replaced Malcolm Hill.

But against the top-seeded Meralco, who had last year’s Best Import and Rookie of the Year in their roster, the 23-year-old cager was just a shell of his former self. He scored only seven, nine and then four points, respectively, in Games One through Three against the Bolts.

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"Nakukulangan lang kami sa binigay niyang energy and performance sa Game Two and Game Three,” Victolero shared.

But the sophomore Purefoods coach remains grateful for his import’s contributions to the team — especially when they were lacking an anchor midway into the conference.

"Thankful pa rin ako for Kris kasi he [brought] us to the semifinals,” he continued. "Baka [this is] another experience for him to improve 'yung laro niya. I know he’s young, he can improve that.”

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