MANILA, Philippines -- Oliver Almadro is expecting a tough challenge when the Petro Gazz Angels take on his former team, the Choco Mucho Flying Titans, in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference on Thursday.
It marks the first time that Almadro will coach against Choco Mucho since his abrupt departure from the Rebisco franchise in November 2022, midway through their campaign in the Reinforced Conference.
He was appointed as the new head coach of the Gazz Angels in January, less than a month before the opening of the new PVL season.
Almadro's maiden campaign with Petro Gazz started on a rough note, as they were swept by a Creamline team that was playing without Alyssa Valdez, 18-25, 20-25, 22-25, last Saturday.
The coach still saw plenty of positives from their performance, however, and believes they have something to build on heading into their game against the Flying Titans on Thursday.
"I guess we have to work on some things. Especially ending the set. I know for a fact na ngayon is, 'yung team namin is per position, meron naman. We just have, 'yun nga, finish it strong, have that attitude and grit to finish and end it right," said Almadro.
The Flying Titans will have momentum on their side on Wednesday after opening their own All-Filipino charge with a 25-15, 25-20, 25-20 triumph over Akari, also last Saturday.
"They're always impressive," Almadro said of his former team.
"They are a very strong team, I can see. 'Yun na rin naman 'yung first six nila, first seven, that's it. They're a very talented team," he also said. "So we will work hard, we will prepare, and let's see kung saan kami umabot."
The Gazz Angels played without star middle blocker MJ Phillips against Creamline and Almadro is hopeful that she can return on Thursday to shore up their net defense. Regardless of Phillips' status, the coach is confident that his players will put up a fight.
"My players are hard-working girls, down to earth, humble. They're willing to learn and willing to fight. So that's what PetroGazz is," said Almadro.
Opening serve between Petro Gazz and Choco Mucho is at 6:30 p.m.
The day's double-header starts at 4 p.m., with Creamline eyeing a 2-0 start against Cignal HD.