CHITO Victolero now gets an idea what it likes to have a June Mar Fajardo in his lineup. Even just for a single game.
Victolero has been named to coach the Visayas team in the coming PBA All-Star week, which the 6-foot-11 Fajardo will banner against the Philippine men’s squad during the May 23-27 event that goes on tour in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Fajardo was a thorn on the side of Victolero and the Magnolia Hotshots during the recent Philippine Cup Finals, which San Miguel won to bag its fourth straight All-Filipino championship. The Cebuano big man, as expected, romped off with the PBA Press Corps Finals MVP to go along with his Best Player of the Conference award.
Victolero gets to handle Fajardo – voted by fans to be the starting center for the Visayas selection – during the final phase of the mid-season spectacle on May 27 in Iloilo City.
Making up the Visayas teams starting five along with the four-time league MVP are Greg Slaughter of Barangay Ginebra, James Yap of Rain or Shine, TnT Katropa's Terrence Romeo, and NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena, the only rookie to be voted as a starter out of the three All-Star selections.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra’s Tim Cone will handle the Mindanao selection and Leo Austria of San Miguel is going to call the shots for the Luzon team.
All three coaches earned the right of a return trip to the All-Star week based on their respective team’s finish during the Philippine Cup.
The trio also coached the three selection teams that likewise battled the national team under the same format in last year’s edition of the All-Star games.
Voted by fans to start for Cone's Mindanao selection are Barangay Ginebra's Scottie Thompson, the Magnolia trio of Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, and Peter June Simon, along with Blackwater big man Mac Belo.
The Mindanao showcase, set on May 23 in Davao del Sur, will reunite Cone with Barroca and Simon, two of his former players while still coaching the Hotshots, where he won a total of five championships, including a grand slam in 2014.
Calvin Abueva meanwhile, leads the Luzon starters for Austria, who will also have Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Paul Lee, and Marc Pingris. The 35-year-old Pingris however, is expected to be replaced though, as he's out for the entire season owing to an ACL injury.
The Luzon selection tangles with the national team on May 25 in Batangas City.