Former Soaring Falcon Pao Pablico may have exhausted his playing years for Adamson University, but his love and loyalty for his dear Alma Mater remains.
And so, when he received the message to join the Soaring Falcons’ coaching staff, he did not hesitate or think twice before saying yes.
“Oo, assistant coach [na],” Pablico said with a smile, following the Soaring Falcons’ five-set escape of the EAC Generals in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.
The former PVL Collegiate Conference Most Valuable Player even got his first post-game interview as a coach after the match. Adamson head coach Domingo Custodio had respectfully declined, handing Pablico the responsibility of talking to the members of the press.
“Sa tingin ko nag-adjust lang sila sa court, sa environment dito, kasi first time nila maglaro dito. Bago kasi yung lineup namin na first six. And then yun nga, nawala ako, then nawala yung isang quicker namin. Tapos madami yung nadagdag na bago sa first six, so ayun siguro ginawa nila,” explained the 22-year-old Pablico.
“Hindi namin sila inunderestimate na parang [pinaghandaan] talaga namin sila kasi alam namin na madepensa yung EAC, which is nakilala talaga sila sa depensa. Which is yun yung lumabas kanina, dinepensahan nila yung mga bata namin.”
Pablico steered Adamson to a top-four finish in his last hurrah with the squad in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Volleyball Tournament – ending the Soaring Falcons’ two-year Final Four drought in the league.
Adamson, however, could not get past Bryan Bagunas and eventual champions NU Bulldogs – putting an end to Pablico and the Soaring Falcons’ gallant stand in the collegiate tourney.
Even with his coaching cap finally on, the hard-hitting son of Vigan, Ilocos Sur admitted that he is still not used to the situation. He added that there are still instances when he wanted to enter the court, only to realize that he’s not there to play anymore but to mentor to his old squad.
“Nakakakaba pala, tapos enjoy kasi ganun pala yung feeling na coach na ako. Pero kailangan pa rin na manalo yung team ko na gusto kong pumasok ulit sa loob ng court, nakakamiss,” shared Pablico.
Now playing a vital role with the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters, the converted open hitter vows to help strengthen the young Falcons and share with them all the knowledge that he has gathered throughout his young career.
“Yung mga nalalaman ko sa volleyball na natutunan ko sa coach ko dito sa club team ko [PLDT], ituturo ko sa kanila nang sa ganun maging katulad din nila ako,” claimed Pablico.
And he knows that there will only be good things to come for the young Soaring Falcons even without him on the Taraflex.
“Unang liga kasi namin ‘to, kaya ‘di ko masabi. Pero sa training naman alam kong ano, alam kong may potential sila na lumaban sa malalakas pa na team, kasi kaya naman nila eh, lalo na nag-Final Four kami.”