Veteran volleyball coach George Pascua is returning to the club volleyball scene as he is tapped to lead the charge for the PLDT Home Fibr High Speed Hitters in the upcoming 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) season.
Pascua replaced long-time PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb, who had parted ways with the team after eight years of service.
The champion coach admitted that taking the helm of the storied volleyball franchise is both a challenge and an honor.
"Happy and excited kasi napunta ako sa team na isa sa mga pioneer na teams na sa volleyball. Masaya din ako na vina-value nila 'yung players,” Pascua said.
He also shared that he did not expect to be named as the new tactician of PLDT as the team also considered several names for the position.
“'Yung pagkuha nila sa akin, very unexpected. Hindi ko in-expect kasi marami silang ina-eye na head coach. Kinausap nila ako sa kanilang mga plans at nagkaroon kami ng collaborations. Tapos tinawagan nila ako na ako na daw napili nila,” Pascua explained.
Pascua is a three-time champion coach in the Philippine Superliga, steering Petron Blaze Spikers to the 2014 Grand Prix and 2015 All-Filipino championships. He also guided Cignal to the 2017 Invitational championship.
In 2018, he had a one-year stint with Sta. Lucia as well.
He is also the current head coach of Far Eastern University's women's volleyball team -- a position he has held since 2017 -- and also an assistant coach for the Philippine Women's National Volleyball Team.
"Malaking bagay kasi as a coach, continuous study pa rin," said Pascua about working with national team consultant Edson Souza De Brito.
"At the same time, natuto ako ng bagong system na galing sa Brazil. Malaking bagay sa akin 'yun na may bagong sistema ako natutunan."
Pascua tapped Raffy Mosuela, Mike Santos, and Manolo Refugia as assistant coaches, while Paolo Escaño is the team's strength and conditioning coach.
Pascua and Smart and PLDT head of sports Jude Turcuato are tempering expectations for the PLDT squad as the team has to work on its chemistry.
“Siyempre it's a process and we can't get that in a blink of an eye. Kailangan ma-form namin 'yung chemistry ng mga bata at nung team. May mga skills na 'yan but kailangan makuha nila 'yung system natin,” Pascua explained.
"What we want to see is continuous improvement," added Turcuato. "The winning culture is something that we expect in any MVP team. We always want to improve and be better in every game, that's the mindset that we want for the team. The expectation is to be a contender."