Close followers of the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles already know this, but Lady Eagles fans got their first taste of Oliver Almadro’s motivational talks on Sunday afternoon.
Midway through Ateneo-Motolite’s match against the veteran Pocari Sweat-Air Force Lady Warriors, the Lady Eagles’ new head coach pulled aside libero Dani Ravena during a timeout.
The sophomore had just given consecutive bad passes, so Almadro thought it appropriate to remind Dani of the name she carries.
“You’re good, believe in yourself! Ravena ka! Walang Ravena duwag!” exclaimed Almadro during the televised timeout.
The pep talk pulled Ravena back into focus, helping the Lady Eagles take a win over their experienced foes.
The three-time UAAP Men’s Volleyball champion coach hopes Ateneo’s fervid fans embrace him.
“Siguro, nakatulong ‘yun. Alam niyo naman na hyper ako eh. Sana ‘yung mga ganoon ko, mag-click sa utak nila,” Almadro shared.
“‘Yun naman hinahabol ko eh: simpleng instruction, switch on right away.”
Through his five years as Blue Eagles head coach, Alnadro’s fiery disposition has sparked five-time MVP Marck Espejo and five-time Best Setter Ish Polvorose to great heights.
Charged with taking over a celebrated program, Almadro knows he still has a long way to go in building the Lady Eagles.
“Siguro nasa forty-percent pa lang kami for UAAP. It’s still a long way to go for us kaya kami sumali sa ganitong tournament,” he added.
If there’s any difference between Almadro and former coach Tai Bundit, it’s in the in-game adjustments, pointed out graduating middle blocker Bea De Leon.
“Both of them are really intense. The difference lang siguro is with Coach O there’s in-game adjustments,” said De Leon. “With coach Tai kasi, we do everything in training and he lets his players do their thing and execute sa game.
“But they’re both almost the same. Pareho nga silang sumasayaw sa court, which is great for us players. It really helps.”