Victolero ends Austria reign as Press corps’ top coach
It took a coach who overcame huge odds and won his first PBA title to end the three-year reign of San Miguel Beer’s Leo Austria.
Magnolia mentor Chito Victolero will be hailed Coach of the Year during the 25th anniversary presentation of the PBA Press Corps Annual Awards Night on Monday at Novotel Manila Araneta Center.
Victolero will take home the coveted Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan trophy from the group of sportswriters that regularly covers the PBA beat following the work he did the Hotshots last year that culminated with a championship in the season-ending Governors Cup.
The 43-year-old Victolero of Sta. Maria, Bulacan, beat out Barangay Ginebra counterpart Tim Cone and Austria, winner of the award the past three seasons, in a tight, three-way fight for the individual honor that serves as the highlight of the special two-hour event presented by Cignal TV.
All three coaches won a championship each last year, but Victolero’s Magnolia roster obviously is the least superior of the three ballclubs under the umbrella of the San Miguel Corporation.
In just his second year at the helm of the Hotshots, Victolero won his first PBA title and broke Magnolia’s four-year championship drought following its 2014 Grand Slam season.
The No. 4 seed Hotshots toppled the top-seeded and two-time defending champion Kings in the semifinals and then overcame Best Import Mike Harris and the third-seeded Alaska Aces in the finals.
During the Philippine Cup, Victolero finally made it past the semifinals after three straight Final Four trips the previous season but lost to the powerhouse Beermen in the Finals as the Hotshots made do with a depleted roster.
Aside from Austria, Cone was also a Coach of the Year awardee in the past along with Chot Reyes, the only five-time winner, Yeng Guiao, Jong Uichico, Ryan Gregorio, Derrick Pumaren, Perry Ronquillo, Boyet Fernandez, Siot Tanquingcen, Luigi Trillo, and the late Ron Jacobs.
Victolero shares the limelight with other awardees in the Jan. 21 affair that includes Danny Floro Executive of the Year winner Alfrancis Chua.
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