Marck Espejo and Oliver Almadro spent five magical years together.
During that time, the Ateneo Blue Eagles flat-out dominated. They won three championships in five years, with Espejo winning five Most Valuable Player plums.
But when Tai Bundit left the Lady Eagles, Ateneo looked no further to find his replacement.
The decorated men’s volleyball tactician – who is just one of two coaches in V-League history to win the triple crown – was tapped as the chief tactician of the Lady Eagles.
“Iba yung women’s sa men’s. Grabe,” shared Almadro after notching his first win of the season last February against the UST Golden Tigresses.
“In the women’s, you really have to take a look at the details, you really have to be mindful of the details. Unlike in the men’s, you really have to put power and intensity.”
While he was in Japan, Espejo made sure to keep tabs on his former mentor. And he knew that Almadro would make a seamless transition to the Lady Eagles.
“Nag-start siya sa women’s din,” Espejo pointed out.
“Knowing Coach O naman, basta may magic yan eh. Lahat, kaya niyang gawin.”
During his first year with the Lady Eagles, the general public saw what made Almadro an elite head coach. From his in-game adjustments to his motivational style, Almadro is a unique figure.
“Siguro, siya kasi yung coach na kahit yung players, hindi nagagawa yung role, nandun siya para i-push,” the 22-year-old Ateneo great continued.
“Yung trust niya from player one to player number fourteen, nandun yung trust niya.”
Espejo was very happy for Almadro after the latter captured his fourth UAAP title. Moreover, he could not help but reminisce on the good old times he had with him.
“Tuwing nakikita ko si coach O, parang nakaka-miss. Na-miss ko yung ganung coach ko na pinush ako na gawin ko yung best ko,” expressed Espejo, who played for Japanese club Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler as an import.
“Sobrang natutuwa ako for him dahil first season niya sa Women’s, nag-champion agad.”