CHICAGO - It's no secret that the Japan B.League is trying to entice the best PBA talents to move over to their burgeoning playhouse.
Apparently, that aggressive pitch has breached into the coaching ranks.
Multiple sources told me that an international sports management firm called Chito Victolero the other day to gauge his interest in coaching in Japan.
After his team's Zoom workouts on Tuesday, Victolero told me in a telephone conversation that he indeed got the call and that he was supremely flattered.
But right now, though, Victolero told SPIN.ph that his priorities are implicitly clear.
And the Magnolia Hotshots.
Japan's fascination with Victolero is no surprise given that he is the epitome of the modern-day coach who has the facility to get players to buy into a defensive scheme, play with effort, and is brilliant in in-game adjustments.
Chito, a former point guard, is also in that sweet spot at age 46. Not too young and not a recycled relic, either.
IF HE HAD A TEAM ROSTER AND A BUDGET LIKE THOSE OF TNT, SAN MIGUEL, AND GINEBRA, CHITO WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN A GRAND SLAM COACH A LONG TIME AGO.
Coaching success is extremely reliant on player talent.
And if you think celebrated, highly-paid coaches such as Tim Cone are the answer to godforsaken franchises like Blackwater and Terrafirma, you don't know the question.
By the same token, do you really think Leo Austria can replicate the prosperity Victolero has spawned at Magnolia?
During my interview, the shy, soft-spoken Victolero came across as a rigid company man, an endearing trait to have when you work for the San Miguel group. Just ask Marc Pingros and PJ Simon whose attempted dalliance with the MPBL nearly cost them their jersey retirement rites, a PBA agent told me.
But Chito's loyalty will be tested.
A source told me that Victolero's monthly salary at Magnolia is in the P300,000 range. It's a far cry from the $10,000 to $15,000 pay that Japan hands out to its less experienced coaches. Once Victolero proves himself in the B.League, his take could escalate to $25,000 to $30,000.
Besides Victolero, the name Topex Robinson is also being passed around the B.League as a potential assistant coach, a Japan-based agent told me.
The assistant coach gig doesn't pay much - $5,000 to $6,000 - but it's still more than the reported P200,000 a month that Topex rakes in with Phoenix.
At 47, Topex is arguably one of the most dynamic and creative coaching minds in the PBA. He can choose to stagnate at Phoenix or spread his wings in Japan.
With Matthew Wright heading to the B.League soon, here's hoping Topex follows so he can share his wisdom to the rest of the world.
Same with Chito, too.
Unless the big jobs open up and he somehow slips into those spots, there's really no fun coaching a team that will always be handicapped by logistics.
Playing David can be fun, but in the long run, all the losing breaks the soul.
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