Coach O reveals why he accepted the Petro Gazz coaching job, and how Ateneo reacted.
Coach Oliver Almadro was not supposed to be here. He was supposed to rest for a bit, stepping down late last year as the head coach of the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL). He was supposed to focus on his coaching duties at Ateneo.
But here he is, starting 2023 in the white and red uniform of the Petro Gazz Angels.
"I decided not to coach a pro team muna when I left Choco Mucho. Suddenly, the management of Petro Gazz called me up and asked for help," Almadro told One Sports on Saturday.
"What's good is they saw what they need in me and what I can do for the team, not mentioning anything about my failures or anything about . . . anything from the past."
It did feel sudden. But gears started rolling when coach George Pascua left PLDT, which prompted the High Speed Hitters to sign Rald Ricafort from Petro Gazz.
That left the Angels, fresh from winning the 2022 Reinforced Conference Champions in December, without a chief tactician.
Coach O, though, hedged at the start, well aware of his shortcomings at the pro level. The fiery tactician, known for his outbursts and exasperated tone during timeouts, was unable to steer the Flying Titans to a podium finish in the PVL, while the team wanting his services had just won a title.
"They [Petro Gazz] just won a championship," Coach O said about the Angels. "In the pro league, I just put a team in the final four, but I haven't experienced a championship yet."
But the Petro Gazz management gave Almadro what he was looking for — a second chance.
"I prayed a lot that the Lord will plant where I will grow," Almadro said. "So, sabi nila, 'Coach, let's grow together. You want to prove something? We want to help you also.'"
"You see 'yung family time na 'We will help you coach, and we want you to help us, too.' Yung mutual understanding na no matter what the path, no matter what my achievement, their achievement, they decided to get me."
"They want my help and they also know that I need their help also for me to prove na I am worthy pa rin sa pro league," Almadro added.
But what about Ateneo, which is deep in training with the UAAP about to start its own volleyball season?
Coach O said the Blue Eagles have been nothing but supportive of his endeavors, "They're saying, 'Go ahead, that's who you are eh. You're a coach, so we know for a fact na 'di mo pinapabayaan ang Ateneo. So, don't worry about it.' I'm happy that Ateneo supported me in my new team."
In fact, Almadro has been smiling a lot nowadays, especially when he was first welcomed by the Petro Gazz squad, "I said this is what I am. I accepted it, and the players accepted it, who I am. I am happy where I am now."