After two years, George Pascua returns to the club volleyball scene.
The PLDT Home Fibr High Speed Hitters have named Pascua as their new head coach for the 2022 Premier Volleyball League season.
And for Pascua, taking over the storied volleyball franchise is both a challenge and an honor.
“Happy and excited kasi napunta ako sa team na isa sa mga pioneer na teams na sa volleyball,” he said. “Masaya din ako na vina-value nila yung players.
“Yung pagkuha nila sa akin, very unexpected. Hindi ko inexpect kasi marami silang ina-eye na head coach. Kinausap nila ako sa kanilang mga plans at nagkaroon kami ng collaborations. Tapos tinawagan nila ako na ako na daw napili nila.”
Pascua replaces Roger Gorayeb, who has been with PLDT since 2013.
“It’s been a really good relationship between PLDT and Coach Roger,” said SMART and PLDT head of sports Jude Turcuato. “It wasn’t just because of the championships that he has won but he was also a father figure to the group with all his experiences. We are really grateful for those eight years.”
Pascua is a three-time champion coach in the Philippine Superliga, steering to the 2014 Grand Prix and 2015 All-Filipino championships. He also guided Cignal to the 2017 Invitational championship.
In 2018, he had a one-year stint with Sta. Lucia as well.
He is also the current head coach of Far Eastern University’s women’s volleyball team — a position he has held since 2017 — and also an assistant coach for the Philippine Women’s National Volleyball Team.
“Malaking bagay kasi as a coach, continuous study pa rin,” said Pascua about getting to work with national team consultant Edson Souza De Brito. “At the same time, natuto ako ng bagong system na galing sa Brazil. Malaking bagay sa akin yun na may bagong sistema ako natutunan.”
Pascua tapped Raffy Mosuela, Mike Santos, and Manolo Refugia as assistant coaches while Paolo Escaño is the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
Expectations are high for the PLDT team entering the new season. But for Pascua and Turcuato, it’s going to be a process.
“Sabi ko nga, trusted ko yung assistant coach na kinuha ko kasi malaki yung expectations sa amin ng team at ng fans,” said Pascua. “Pero siyempre it’s a process and we can’t get that in a blink of an eye. Kailangan ma-form namin yung chemistry ng mga bata at nung team. May mga skills na yan but kailangan makuha nila yung system natin.”
“What we want to see is continuous improvement,” added Turcuato. “The winning culture is something that we expect in any MVP team. We always want to improve and be better in every game, that’s the mindset that we want for the team. The expectation is to be a contender.”
The 2022 PVL Open Conference is targetting a February 16 start date.