MANILA, Philippines – The PBA Press Corps will honor 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.
Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero will receive the Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan trophy from the group of sportswriters who regularly cover the PBA beat, following the work he did 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's Tim Cone and San Miguel Beer's Leo Austria in a tight contest for the individual honor that serves as the highlight of the two-hour event.
Austria had won the award for the past three seasons.
Only in his second year at the helm of the Hotshots, Victolero guided the Hotshots to the title that ended the franchise's four-year championship drought following a grand slam season in 2014.
On the way to the top, the no. 4 seed Hotshots toppled the top seeded and two-time defending champion Gin Kings in the semifinals and then overcame Best Import Mike Harris and the third seeded Aces in the finals.
During the Philippine Cup earlier in the season, Victolero finally made it past the semifinals after three straight trips to the Final 4 in the previous season. However, Magnolia lost to the powerhouse Beermen in the Philippine Cup finals.
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 in celebration of its silver anniversary.
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