Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro. –PVL IMAGES

Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro. –PVL IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines — Petro Gazz coach Oliver Almadro takes on his former team, Choco Mucho as the Angels gun for their first win in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference on Thursday at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Almadro will face the program he had handled since 2019 when the Angels and Flying Titans collide at 6:30 p.m.

The coach resigned as Choco Mucho coach in the middle of the Reinforced Conference with the team stating he wants “to focus his efforts on developing the Ateneo Women’s Volleyball Program”.

But during the busy preseason, Almadro has found his new home at Petro Gazz, saying Ateneo supports his decision to call the shots for the Angels in the PVL even with the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament also opening in a few weeks.

Almadro said he is also on good terms with the Flying Titans, especially Maddie Madayag, who had an 11-point season debut last Saturday in their straight-set win over Akari, as well as Pauline Gaston, now a Chery Tiggo Crossover.

“With the management? Of course. Sometimes Maddie visits me, and I have a big heart for Maddie. [Pauline], we talk. That’s it. Ang bait,” he said. “You know, I’m happy now.”

Maddie Madayag PVL

Choco Mucho’s Maddie Madayag. PVL PHOTO

Fit-again Madayag is also excited to face Almadro, who coached her since her final playing year with Ateneo in 2019.

“We’re excited to see him grow as a coach and his system with another team. But our focus is on our own play and movement inside the court so we can polish our own system,” Madayag said in Filipino.

Almadro absorbed a losing debut on opening day as Petro Gazz bowed to Creamline sans Alyssa Valdez in straight sets, while Choco Mucho made a rousing season opener under its new coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was his former rival in the UAAP men’s volleyball tournament.

“They’re always impressive,” said Almadro of his former team. “They’re a very strong team. They’re a very talented team. So we will work hard, we will prepare and I hope the Lord is giving me strength and wisdom for that next game.”

Almadro’s focus is fully now on his new team, which he lauded for having hardworking and coachable players

“They’re a strong team so we will just work hard, prepare, and my players are hardworking girls, down to earth, humble and they’re willing to learn and fight,” the Angels coach said. “We still have a lot of games and conferences. But what’s important for me is that I’m happy.”

Reinforced Conference Best Middle Blocker MJ Phillips remains a game-time decision due to a minor shoulder injury with Almadro pinning his hopes on Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Grethcel Soltones, Rem Palma, Chie Saet, and Jonah Sabete when they take on Madayag, Bea De Leon, Kat Tolentino, Isa Molde, Des Cheng, and Deanna Wong.

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