Magnolia coach Chito Victolero (left) and TNT’s Chot Reyes (Photos from PBA)

Magnolia Pambansang Manok coach Chito Victolero is flattered with the positive remarks he has received from TNT counterpart Chot Reyes going into their teams’ showdown for the PBA Philippine Cup crown.

The best-of-seven championship series will feature an intriguing tactical battle between Reyes, who steered the Tropang Giga to the Finals on his first conference back, against Victolero, who is eyeing his second title as Hotshots mentor.

Reyes didn’t hide his admiration for Victolero, even admitting that he tried to use Magnolia’s schemes during TNT’s hard-fought seven-game semifinal against San Miguel Beer.

“We used a lot of the stuff that you did in our preparation against San Miguel because we saw how well you play San Miguel and we said ‘Pagaralan natin anu ginagawa nila.’ And that’s a huge measure of respect for your coaching,” Reyes said in the pre-Finals press conference held virtually Tuesday, Oct. 19.

“And I’m not afraid to admit that because I think as coaches our job No. 1 is we have to be life-long learners. That’s why Coach Chito has my utmost respect.”

Victolero said taking on one of the greatest coaches in PBA history will pose a big challenge as he tries to finally give Magnolia the PBA’s most important prize after falling short in his two previous Philippine Cup Finals appearances in 2018 and 2019.

“I have a high respect for him (Reyes). You know, itong chance na to makes me really excited. You know, when my first semifinals nung nag head coach ako ng Purefoods was against (Barangay Ginebra San Miguel) Coach Tim (Cone in the 2017 Philippine Cup). Tumatayo talaga balahibo ko e.

“So you know, I’m facing another brilliant mind. Kumbaga siya yung isa sa mga tinitingala ko before, talagang bagay para sakin to as a learning experience. Hopefully, sana makuha ko respeto ni coach Chot dito sa series,” added Victolero.