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Victolero feels proud on first Finals appearance: "Nag-over the hump din kami"

Chito Victolero expressed his happiness that Magnolia finally got "over the hump." Dennis Acosta
By Angelo Acosta

MANILA--The Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok finally found an antidote to erase its previous heartbreaks.

After failing to make it after several attempts in the last three conferences, the Magnolia Hotshots made the Finals at last.

The Hotshots squeaked by and defeated the Road Warriors, 96-89, to seal their spot in the finale and face the mighty Beermen in a best-of-seven series.

[Related Story: Magnolia delivers final road block on NLEX to set up finals vs SMB]

The Hotshots also erased a four-year drought. The franchise last made a Finals series as the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in a seven-game brawl that they won against Rain or Shine in the 2014 Governors' Cup that saw them covet the Grand Slam.

There's no one who could be prouder than their head coach Chito Victolero, who will be coaching his first ever Finals series. Victolero led the team into three semifinal appearances last season.

"Yung three semifinal appearances, hindi yun madali eh," Victolero stated. "Pero sabi ko nga, We have to be patient. We need to go through the process. And then eto na."

He had a brief stint with the Kia franchise before coaching the Magnolia Hotshots and turning them into finals contenders now.

He formerly coached then-Mahindra as a deputy head coach to their absent head coach Manny Pacquiao last 2015.

"Nag-over the hump din kami... dahil sa mga experiences na nakuha namin before," Victolero said.

Victolero replaced struggling former head coach Jason Webb, who is still part of the coaching staff as consultant.

Although he feels relieved after the win, Victolero stated that they need to be consistent.

"Kailangan lang talaga namin ng hardwork at chemistry.", he said.

The Pambansang Manok will battle the Beermen in Game 1 of their series that starts this Friday.

Follow him on Twitter: @jeloacosta