After years of heartbreak, Oliver Almadro is finally going to the Premier Volleyball League finals. On Thursday night, Petro Gazz blanked PLDT, 25-17, 25-23, 25-15, in Game Three of the 2023 All-Filipino Conference semifinals – marking Almadro’s first-ever trip to the PVL finals since he joined the league in 2019 with Choco Mucho.
Prior to this, the former Flying Titans tactician’s highest finish in the PVL was fourth place at the 2021 Open Conference in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, and the 2022 Open Conference.
“Well first, I thank the Lord for the strength. Sabi nga nila, the Lord will move to put you in the right direction,” said Almadro, who was trying to fight back tears.
“So, I didn’t know, I’m not expecting to be in the finals right away, I didn’t really…. I really didn’t expect this.”
Almadro thanked the Angels for accepting him right away and for helping him reach a big milestone in his coaching career.
“No, I really thank these girls because they trusted me right away.
“And, you know, finals right away, it’s a big blessing, eh? Kasi everybody wants to be in this position,” said the UAAP champion coach, who took over the post left by Rald Ricafort last January.
“But many teams will underestimate us. Many teams will be like, ‘Oh, wala naman yung Petro Gazz, hindi naman sila yan, wala naman yan.’ But we will show the performance, it will show for itself kung saan kami abutin and kung saan kami dalin ni Lord,” he added.
With the massive win, Petro Gazz earned the opportunity to dethrone the Alyssa Valdez-less Creamline, who is gunning for a second consecutive All-Filipino Conference title. This is their second consecutive showdown in the import-less conference – and their fourth overall in the PVL. Currently, the Angels’ finals win-loss record against the Cool Smashers is 1-2, winning only the 2019 Reinforced Conference and losing the 2019 Open and 2022 Open Conference championships.
“Sabi namin, to reach that dream, kailangan may goal kami. We have to commit and be consistent in that goal so, yun lang, kung san kami abutin, yun lang naman ang atin eh. They are there, kami underdog kami,” the Spikers’ Turf grand slam champion coach opined.
“So, sabi nga namin, trabaho lang kami kung san kami abutin. We’re a strong team, great teams will just push us forward.”