Never in Chito Victolero’s wildest dreams did he expect to become of the top coaches in the country.
A month after he steered the Magnolia Hotshots to the 2018 Governors’ Cup championship and ended the franchise’s four-year title drought, Victolero received the Coach of the Year commendation at the PBA Press Corps Awards, Monday night at Novotel Manila-Araneta Center.
Victolero ended the three-year reign of San Miguel Beermen head coach Leo Austria – the very same coach who broke Magnolia’s hearts in the 2018 Philippine Cup Finals when they dismantled the Hotshots 4-1 en route to their fourth straight all-Filipino crown.
“Para akong nasa ulap. Grabe yung saya sa puso ko.
“I’m very happy, very proud sa blessings na binigay ni Lord sa’kin. I would also like to share this award to my coaching staff; to the whole team, especially to the players; to the management; and lastly to the fans na talagang grabe sumuporta samin at magdasal,” expressed the 43-year-old tactician, who started his pro coaching career with the KIA franchise.
For the former PBA cager, he never thought that he would be honored with the high award in his career.
“Hindi. Siyempre ang goal ko lang noon is to at least mag-improve every conference. Or nung nagsimula ako sa Mapua sabi ko noon, sana kahit papano, makakuha ako ng championship sa NCAA,” said Victolero, who handled the Mapua Cardinals from 2009 to 2012.
“But as you grow older, ‘pag nagkaroon ka na ng experience, naiisip ko na na sana ma-achieve ko yung goal ko na makapag-uwi ng championship sa PBA,” he added.
“This award is a bonus na. I mean, binigay sa’kin ng Panginoon, and thank you very much dun sa na-achieve ko.”
But Victolero made it known that he won’t be resting in his laurels just because he is the best coach of the season. For him, he has more work ahead, as he plans to win another championship.
“This is not the end,” said Victolero, who took Magnolia’s head coaching reins back in 2016.
“I will take it as a challenge na this is only the start, na I’ll try to help again my team kung paano kami mananalo ulit ng championship, because napakasarap manalo.”