Reveling in his first PBA championship, Chito Victolero shares credit for Magnolia feat
ANTIPOLO CITY—Chito Victolero wasn’t looked at as a successor to Tim Cone’s glorious run as head coach of the Purefoods franchise, but it’s what he turned out to be that cemented his legacy in the storied club.
Hired from Kia, Victolero was tapped to help the struggling Hotshots move on from their drastic drop to 11-22 less than two years removed from completing the Grand Slam.
Victolero’s only PBA achievement before arriving in Magnolia’s camp was lead Kia to its lone playoff appearance in the 2016 Governors’ Cup, but he is now part of an elite league of champion coaches in the PBA.
Against the toughest opponent in Alaska, Magnolia survived six brutal games and capped it off with dominant 102-86 Game 6 win, but he was quick to defer the credit to his coaching staff including former head coach Jason Webb.
“It’s not just me who deserves all this credit because I will give this to our coaching staff,” said Victolero in Filipino Wednesday at Ynares Center here. “The coaching staff’s support is just immense.”
“There’s this huge support system behind us and that’s what kept us motivated through all of this, the credit isn’t just on me, this is for the whole team, the players, the coaching staff, the support staff, and the management.”
Victolero, who he led the Hotshots to three straight semifinals in the 2016-17 season before this season’s breakthrough, emphasized that the championship was the result of all the hard work and sacrifices from the whole team.
It also helped that his core of players didn’t just treat each other as teammates but as brothers both on and off the court.
“I don’t know the feeling [of winning a title] but I just jumped around because I was just so happy because all of our sacrifices from last year and everything we learned from the semifinals and from this year all came together,” said Victolero.
“This is what I like from this team is how this was formed because the chemistry is just beautiful. We’re like brothers here and this is one of the best groups that I’ve been in even when I was still a player.”