Rookie coach Abella shines in Pocari title run
Though Tai Bundit was listed as the head coach for Pocari Sweat in Shakey’s V-League Season 13 Open Conference, it was actually Rommel Abella who called the shots for the entirety of the tournament.
And for the mentor to take the helm at this level, it had been a daunting task for the UST alumnus.
“First team ko talaga ito, but I took it as a challenge,” he said.
Abella did pass the test with flying colors and more, leading the Lady Warriors to the championship after a grueling three games against Philippine Air Force.
What helped him Abella was his unusual relationship with his players as he acted more of a big brother than a drill sergeant as Pocari Sweat found the perfect formula to rise above the crop.
“Hindi naman sila mahirap na i-coach. Ang trato ko lang sa kanila parang magkakaibigan kami, parang matandang kapatid nila ako,” Abella said, entrusting the leadership to top guns Michele Gumabao, Gyzelle Sy, Elaine Kasilag, and Finals MVP Myla Pablo. “Ang instruction ko sa kanila hindi naman bossy eh. Ang akin pinapaalalahanan ko lang sila lagi kasi matagal na naglalaro ang mga yan. Kaunting paalala lang ang kailangan ng mga yan.”
And his way worked wonders for a team stacked with talent, driving Pocari Sweat to a 6-1 record in the eliminations and preparing it for the tough grind in the playoffs.
“Simula nung semis nag-work yung approach ko kasi nung eliminations, though maganda ang record namin, syempre may feel out process pa rin sa amin yun kasi first time ko nag head coach. So nung nakita ko na nagwo-work ang medyo malumanay na approach, di ko na sya binago,” he said, as his calming presence helped the Lady Warriors weather the tough BaliPure squad in the semifinals and ultimately, snare the title.
After this impressive run with Pocari Sweat, one must wonder if Abella is now getting offers for a head coaching job whether in the collegiate ranks or in the pros. But he made it clear that his current job as the UST boys’ volleyball team remain his top priority.
“Ang priority ko is yung team namin sa UST boys’ volleyball,” Abella said, while leaving the door open for possible suitors. “Open naman ako so kung may offer naman, siguro pwede natin i-entertain for as long as hindi tamaan ang schedule ko sa UST kasi yun ang priority natin.”
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