Noel Orcullo to still coach La Salle in UAAP as Ramil De Jesus likely to miss first round
MANILA, Philippines — Noel Orcullo will continue to call the shots for La Salle on an interim basis with head coach Ramil De Jesus likely miss the first round of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
Orcullo, who handled the team during the preseason, bared on Wednesday that De Jesus may not be able to coach in the first few games of the tournament due to an undisclosed reason.
De Jesus, though, will continue to oversee the program in training.
“For now, I will handle the team,” the longtime La Salle assistant coach told the reporters in Filipino. “Although coach Ramil is still there to guide me. Hopefully, by the second round he’ll be back.”
“Probably, he will still attend our games,” he added.
In his 25 seasons in the UAAP, it will be the first time that De Jesus will miss games, leaving Orcullo to handle a much bigger responsibility.
Orcullo, who led the Lady Spikers to a silver medal finish in the Shakey’s Super League last November, admitted it’s tough to fill in the big shoes of the 11-time champion coach.
“Sobra. Actually, yung stress di maalis eh lalo na sa gabi pag patulog na. Hopefully, makayanan ko rin since nasubukan ko na naman nung Shakey’s. Sana mas ma-improve ko pa ang sarili ko going into this UAAP,” Orcullo said.
(Actually, it’s hard to avoid stress, especially at night before sleeping. Hopefully, I can handle it since I already tried in Shakey’s Super League. I hope to improve myself going to the UAAP.)
“If coach Ramil is there, I’ll be more confident. But since he won’t like in Shakey’s (Super League). I’m just taking it upon myself [to handle this team],” he added.
Orcullo also said that sophomore spiker Alleiah Malaluan will also miss the first few games due to a minor knee injury.
“Since we stopped playing for two years [during the pandemic]. It’s hard to avoid aggravating their injuries. But she already recovered. She will play this season but I might not field her in during our first few games. She’s still recovering but it’s just a minor injury,” she added.
Orcullo will be leaning on rookie spiker Angel Canino, Thea Gagate, Jolina Dela Cruz, and Justine Jazareno as they will open their campaign against the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses.
“Not that excited, a little nervous because we’re facing UST right away. Coach Ramil always tells me not to overthink. He keeps on saying I can do it and he trusts me so much. The other coaches are there to guide me, too,” he said.