Former Ateneo de Manila University head coach Oliver Almadro will continue to root for the Blue Eagles despite stepping down after three seasons.
Almadro was replaced by Brazilian mentor Sergio Veloso following Ateneo’s forgettable performance in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85.
Still, he wished the Blue Eagles well as they go toward a different direction under Veloso, who also serves as men’s national team tactician.
“They announced that they have a new coach. They are going in a new direction and I wish Ateneo well in their future endeavors,” Almadro said on Tuesday after steering his pro club Petro Gazz to a 25-21, 31-29, 25-17, win over newcomer Farm Fresh in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Ateneo officially announced Veloso’s appointment last 3 July, ending Almadro’s role in the team he guided to the UAAP throne in 2019 in his first season.
Almadro took over the Blue Eagles coaching reins in 2018 after the departure of Thai coach Tai Bundit. With stars Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and setter Deanna Wong as his key pieces, Almadro delivered Ateneo’s last of three women’s volleyball titles overall in Season 81.
The Blue Eagles finished third last year in the league’s return after a two-year pandemic hiatus.
However, Ateneo struggled in Season 85, ending with a disappointing 4-10 win-loss record for its worst outing in 14 years. The team also missed the Final Four for the first time since 2009 as Almadro drew flak for the Blue Eagles’ misfortunes.
Despite being out of the picture in the school he served for a decade including a successful stint in the men’s team that won a three-peat from 2015 to 2017, Almadro hopes that the players he recruited will remain with Ateneo.
Almadro secured the commitment of Bacolod Tay Tung High School ace setter Katherine Cortez.
“My job before was to recruit and get players. I hope and I’m sure that they will be going to Ateneo. Of course, Ateneo is one of the best schools. If they’ll be considering Ateneo as their education, I guess they are in the right school,” he said.
“Wishing those new players luck. Good luck to them and their career with Ateneo.”
Almadro admitted that he has yet to get in touch with Ateneo players after leaving the Blue Eagles.
“They didn’t have a chance to come to me and me going to them. So there’s no chance for me to talk to my future players, but it’s ok. They’re on the right track and in good hands,” he stated.