He’s currently averaging 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 23.4 minutes.
The Magnolia Hotshots are now 7-0 in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, tying the franchise’s best start ever in a conference. This after they hacked out a 94-90 victory over the San Miguel Beermen on Sunday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Reinforcement Tyler Bey rendered another monster outing with 31 points, 21 rebounds, and three assists. Right behind him was James Laput, who posted 14 points, seven rebounds, and a block.
When he was drafted by the Terrafirma Dyip as the eighth overall pick in 2021, the 6-foot-10 Laput was seen as a project. A few months later, he was acquired by Magnolia in a trade. Now, he’s become a key contributor for the Hotshots.
After the win over the Beermen, Laput attributed his upward trajectory to his squad’s familial bond.
“I give the most credit to my team, my brothers that I fight (beside with) every day, and also our parents—our coaches. It’s such a Magnolia family that pushes me to the next level,” Laput said in the postgame presser.
The much-improved pivot also considers every step of the way as an opportunity to learn, and he particularly credited Magnolia coach Chito Victolero for seeing the best in him and trusting him.
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“He keeps coming back to me after every game, after every practice, telling me to keep grinding, keep doing your routine, keep finding a way to level up,” revealed Laput.
The league-leading Hotshots will try to level up some more as they try to make it eight wins in a row when they face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Saturday.