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Hotshots get young import

ANTIPOLO—Not wanting to take a chance and seeking a great start, Star dispatched its import after just one game and will parade someone fresh out of college when the Hotshots shoot for a second straight win in the PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Ynares Center here.

Malcolm Hill, a 21-year-old out of Illinois, will play his first pro game when the Hotshots clash with Alaska in the 7 p.m. contest—where Star tries to keep in step with the early leaders while adding to the woes of the traditional power Aces.

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Alaska has been reeling since the last conference, losing a 10th straight game overall.

Despite Star winning its first game in this conference last week over Blackwater, 103-86, coach Chito Victolero pulled the plug on Cinmeon Bowers and quickly brought in Hill, who went undrafted in the last NBA proceedings despite a respectable collegiate career as a Fighting Illini.

The 6-foot-6 Hill played 135 games for Illinois and scored over 1,800 points while grabbing 640 rebounds but still couldn’t catch the eye of NBA scouts. He was auditioning in the Summer League before deciding to play here.

Hill started out at the point guard spot in his last season with Illinois and averaged 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. But with his huge frame—he weighs over 230 pounds—Hill could find himself manning the post for Victolero.

“I’ll be asking him to do that,” Victolero said over the phone after Hill’s fourth practice with the team on Thursday. “He has a lot of potential, he’s very young and he has an excellent attitude.”

Victolero’s only concern is that Hill will be asked to spearhead a team for the first time in his life, unlike at Illinois where he wasn’t the team’s focal point.

“I told him that he would have to adjust to his new role here,” said the Star coach, who bombed out in the Final Four in the first two tournaments.

Meanwhile, TNT KaTropa, the losing finalist to San Miguel Beer in the Commissioner’s Cup, makes its debut in the 4:15 p.m. contest when the Texters slug it out with winless KIA Picanto.

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Michael Craig, the import who got into a trash-talking match with Chris Ross in one of the Finals games that almost led to a halftime brawl, finally makes his first appearance on the court for the Texters.

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