MANILA, Philippines -- Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero hopes to see former San Sebastian College star Ronald Pascual get back on his feet and hopefully give his basketball career another go.
Victolero is now set to coach two of Pascual's good friends and teammates from their legendary Golden Stags team, Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva. The three players formed the famed "Pinatubo Trio" and brought San Sebastian to great heights in their collegiate days.
The Magnolia coach recalled during an appearance on "The Chasedown" just how impressive the three players were during their stint with the Golden Stages.
"'Yang Pinatubo Trio na 'yan, na-experience ko 'yan eh. Kasi, nagko-coach pa ako ng Mapua that time," said Victolero.
"'Di yata ako nanalo sa Pinatubo Trio na 'to eh," he added.
The three helped San Sebastian win the NCAA title in 2009, although they could not quite replicate that success in the coming years as San Beda University formed a dynasty. They all moved forward in the PBA, with Abueva emerging as the second overall pick in 2012, while Sangalang followed as the second overall pick a year later.
While both Abueva and Sangalang lived up to the hype, Pascual was never quite able to fulfill expectations after becoming the third pick in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft. Last year, his brother revealed that Pascual had hit "rock bottom" and was in dire need of support.
Both Abueva and Sangalang got in touch with Pascual after their campaigns in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
A potential Pinatubo Trio reunion in Magnolia is unlikely for now, as Victolero wants Pascual to fully recover from his troubles.
"Hopefully sana, si Ronald, mabalik niya 'yung kung ano man 'yung nasimulan niya before. Sana ito maging inspiration niya si Calvin at si Ian, na makita niya na andito pa," said the coach, who noted that it's not too late for the 32-year-old Pascual to make a comeback.
"Walang late sa basketball eh," Victolero said. "Ang dami nga diyan nakabalik eh, so bakit hindi siya. So depende lang 'yan sa motivation niya."
"Ang gusto lang natin is makabalik 'yung bata. Sana mabigyan ulit ng chance."
In the meantime, Victolero's focus is on his "Pinatubo Duo" of Abueva and Sangalang.
"I talked to Ian and he's also excited," the coach said. "'Yun nga, it's a reunion, and mas maganda lang doon is kumbaga, matagal na silang magkakilala."
"Yung adjustment ni Calvin, hindi 'yun malaki because may aabutan siyang naging teammate niya before sa amin," he added.