Teary-eyed Almadro proves doubters wrong with Ateneo 3-peat
Fresh from winning his third straight UAAP men’s volleyball championship with Ateneo, coach Oliver Almadro couldn’t help but get emotional while basking in his moment of glory.
“Ateneo believed in me. They took me back and believed in me. I didn’t promise them anything, but they really, really trusted me,” Almadro said on Saturday after the Blue Eagles swept the National University Bulldogs, 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 15-13, to clinch the Season 79 crown.
The triumph put Almadro in elite company, joining the likes of Emil Lontoc and Kid Santos as the only coaches to complete a three-peat in the men’s division.
“Three-peats are rare and only my idol coaches are the ones who were able to achieve this. It’s just coach Emil of UST and coach Kid of FEU who have done this so it’s really, really special to me,” he said.
And Almadro has Ateneo to thank for giving him a second chance when everyone else doubted his capabilities as a mentor.
“For all the challenges in my coaching career, my struggles, Ateneo believed in me,” he recalled.
Almadro left for NU in 2010 but was relieved of his duties after just two years. He then made his triumphant return in Ateneo in Season 76 and has since won three straight championships.
Almadro shared all the sacrifices only made his latest accomplishment even more gratifying.
“It’s really sweet for me, these 16 wins,” Almadro said as he struggled to keep a straight face while addressing the media. “These are tears of joy rather than tears of sadness. These are tears of joy because I remember what happened to me before I came back to Ateneo.”
“I always remember that and I took that as an inspiration to work hard, an inspiration for me, for my children, for my family, and for my team. They said I am the weakest link, and now I am proving them that I am not the weakest link. I surpassed their back-to-back. We got a three-peat and we are gunning for four.”