Dionisio turns hot as Hotshots brace for quarterfinals
Roy Luarca (Philstar.com) – November 12, 2020 – 4:23pm
MANILA, Philippines — When Aris Dionisio got picked by the Magnolia Hotshots, he was touted to make an instant impact in the PBA.
It didn’t really turn out that way for the former stalwart of the Manila Frontrow Stars in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.
Joining the Hotshots only at the Clark bubble, lacking in training, and unfamiliar with the team’s system as well as his teammates, Dionisio struggled in his first six games as a pro.
Given little playing time, he was virtually a non-factor as the Hotshots started cold in the Philippine Cup with a 1-4 card.
Even then, however, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero could tell the lanky 6-foot-4 forward with an elongated wingspan is bound to shine. He is mobile, has the shooting touch, can jump, and most noticeable, excels in defense.
Then came Dionisio’s seventh game against NorthPort Batang Pier. No longer a stranger and in the groove, Dionisio came through with 10 points as the Hotshots posted their fifth straight win, 83-76.
Victolero felt Dionisio was ready to be unleashed and so he gave the former St. Clare College superstar and two-time Naascu MVP more minutes when the Hotshots tangled with the Blackwater Elite on Wednesday.
Dionisio, the MPBL’s defensive player of the year and member of the mythical five in the Datu Cup, delivered as the Hotshots cruised past the Elite, 95-80, to extend their win-run to six and barge into the quarterfinals with a 7-win, 4-loss card.
On the hardcourt for 19 minutes, Dionisio tallied 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, and swatted away three shots to earn Best Player of the game honors.
For Dionisio, whose game was nurtured at the Philippine School of Business Administration under 1980 PBA MVP Philip Cezar of the legendary Crispa Redmanizers, it was an affirmation he can excel in the pro league.
“It’s a big thing for me to become a best player in the PBA,” Dionisio said in Filipino. “It will push me to work doubly hard so I can help my team more.”
“I’m verry happy and very proud of Aris. Today he showed his real game. The reason why we took him was because we know he has the skill and talent,” said Victolero, explaining Dionisio’s breakout took a little longer because he has to achieve chemistry with his teammates first.
And now that Dionisio has proven his worth, Victolero will find him useful in the quarterfinals where the Hotshots will be battling the Phoenix LPG Fuel Masters on Saturday (November 14).
With his coach’s trust, Dionisio won’t disappoint.