No worries for new Mapua coach Victolero in ’09 NCAA season
Despite missing three key personnel in the Cardinals rotation, Victolero remains upbeat as he takes over as Mapua’s bench tactician from Leo Isaac, who earlier this year accepted the coaching job for the Barako Bulls in the PBA.
The Cardinals will be missing former NCAA most valuable player Kelvin Dela Peña, veteran big man Neil Pascual and reliable wingman Ian Mazo who used up their playing years.
With that in mind, Victolero challenged the other veterans. “Expect that we fight till the end. It is a huge loss in our part without (Dela Peña, Pascual and Mazo) but it is now the chance for the others to step-up."
Under Isaac, the Cardinals made it to the Final Four for two straight years with Dela Peña, Pascual and Mazo carrying the bulk of the scoring load of the team.
Now that these three reliable veterans are no longer with the team, Victolero will have a Mapua squad that will be led by new skipper Teree Gil Guillermo, Mark Anthony Acosta, Paul Alexis Cinco, Jonathan Banal and last year’s rookie of the year Allan Mangahas.
Victolero also instilled a new system of aggressiveness in every game. “Our system now is to be aggressive and give more energy in practice and in the game. When we play, we’ll make sure it’s in our full potential."
“Whatever the outcome of the game, win or lose, we’ll be happy. This season we’re just keep working hard on both ends of the floor, defense and offense," added Victolero who was the Cardinals’ court general from 1992 to 1996
Victolero is also a former member of the Philippine men’s basketball team that won the gold medal in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam and is currently one of Magnolia Purewater coach Koy Banal’s assistants in the Philippine Basketball League.
Victolero also served as Banal’s assistant when the San Beda Red Lions captured the first of their three NCAA titles in 2006. Former Mapua Cardinal Efren Garcia, Red Robins head coach Randy Alcantara and Marlon Celiz will act as his assistants. – GMANews.TV