NEW Star coach Chito Victolero welcomed the surplus in his backcourt rotation following the arrival of Paul Lee, saying it’s a good problem to have as he takes over a Hotshots team eager to reclaim lost glory in the PBA.
Having only LA Revilla as his most notable playmaker at Mahindra, Victolero is now spoiled for choices with RR Garcia, Mark Barroca, Justin Melton, and newcomer Lee at his disposal, as well as point forward Alex Mallari.
“The good thing here is I have a lot of very good guards, so magandang problema,” Victolero said on Monday after practice as he granted his first interview as Hotshots coach. “May problema kung paano mo makukuha sa kanila yung best nila dun sa time na ibibigay mo sa kanila, at the same time, yung talent nila ma-maximize mo.”
While the rest of the playmakers are familiar with each other, Lee still needs to fit in with his new teammates as well as Star's system after getting traded from Rain or Shine in exchange for James Yap.
But that won’t be much of a problem as well, Victolero believes.
“Nag-usap na kami and he wants the system,” Victolero, a former PBA guard himself, said. “Siguro mag-aadjust lang siya ng konti. I think malapit naman dun (sa Rain or Shine) yung sistema, so excited kaming dalawa ni Paul.”
Marc Pingris, Ian Sangalang, and Rafi Reavis anchor the Hotshots’ frontline, and overall, Victolero is satisfied with the lineup he inherited from coach Jason Webb, who has stayed on as a consultant.
“Ako kasi, kung sino yung nandyan, yun yung tatrabahuhin ko eh,” the former Mahindra coach said. “But these players have the talent. Siguro kailangan lang ma-maximize o malabas lang kung ano yung nandyan. Wala naman tayong wish list. Kung baga, yung wish ko natupad na eh, so kailangan lang namin magtrabaho.”
They have to. After all, the 40-year-old mentor faces a daunting task of leading a team that’s just two year removed from winning a Grand Slam back to prominence after a forgettable Season 41.
“This team is very successful,” Victolero said. “They have an attitude that they know how to bounce back. And yun yung hahanapin namin. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘You’ve experienced (what it’s like to be) on top and you’ve experienced the bottom. Now, ano ang mas masarap na feeling?’ Yun ang tanong ko sa kanila.”
“Hindi naman namin yan minamadali. It’s a process,” added the young coach, who has five weeks to whip his wards into shape for the Philippine Cup. “Kung masho-shortcut namin, mapapabilis namin, mas maganda. But patience is a virtue.”