THE PBA Press Corps will hail a new Coach of the Year winner during the 25th-anniversary presentation of its Annual Awards Night on Monday at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center.
Chito Victolero of Magnolia is the recipient of the coveted Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan trophy from the group of sportswriters who regularly covers the PBA beat following the work he had done with 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 San Miguel Beer’s Leo 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.
The 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 San Miguel Corp.
Only in his second year at the helm of the Hotshots, Victolero won the first title of his PBA coaching career and broke the Hotshots’ four-year championship drought since their grand slam season in 2014.
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, Derick Pumaren, Perry Ronquillo, Boyet Fernandez, Siot Tanquingcen, Luigi Trillo, and the late Ron Jacobs.
Victolero shares the limelight with other awardees in the January 21 affair that includes Danny Floro Executive of the Year winner Alfrancis Chua, the entire PBA Board as choice for the President’s Award, and Alaska team owner Wilfred S. Uytengsu as the first-ever recipient of the PBAPC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.