The resignation of Sherwin Meneses as head coach of Adamson’s women’s volleyball team midway through Season 78 left a big gaping hole in the program of the once-mighty squad.
With ties severed and an entire campaign put to waste as the Lady Falcons finished in 7th place anew, the institution, along with its huge backer Akari, kicked off its search for a replacement in their hopes of rebuilding both the team’s former glory and the girls’s deflated morale.
And while everyone knows by now that the chosen one was flown in all the way from the United States in Airess Padda, FOX Sports found out that 2 local names were among the first few who were considered: Charo Soriano and Angge Tabaquero.
Unfortunately for the fans of the iconic volleyball stars, both of them had to turn down the big opportunity.
For Tabaquero who has been at the helm of Poveda’s girls’ volleyball team for the last 4 years, moving up to the big leagues right away just did not seem like the right path to take at the moment.
“Yes, may coaching experience ako with Poveda but of course this is a different arena. It’s an arena wherein experienced and top caliber ‘yung mga nagha-handle ng bawat teams,” she said. “The level of competition in the WNCAA is very different from the UAAP. Marami pa akong kailangan matutunan, malaman, ma-experience para mapantayan ko ‘yung mga coaches sa paligid ko kasi hindi naman biro ‘yung papasukin ko.”
While coaching a high school team already gave her enough pedigree to take the job, Tabaquero’s biggest selling point is how she, at 27, went through the struggles of being a student-athlete not so long ago with UST.
Playing for coaches August Sta. Maria and, later on, for Shaq delos Santos, the outside hitter played a vital role on the Tigresses’ title runs in Seasons 69 and 72.
“When I fell in love with coaching, pinangarap ko makapag coach sa UAAP and makatulong sa pag develop ng top athletes,” she admitted. “Pero syempre, gusto ko muna puntahan yung unang step ng ladder. Hindi ganon kadali mag jump from level 1 biglang level 5 ka kaagad. It’s a big adjustment and a tough responsibility.”
“I’m not saying that I can’t do it kasi lahat naman ng bagay napapag-aralan. Gusto ko lang muna madaanan lahat ng process at matuto,” she added.
In Charo Soriano’s case, everything from the people she will be working with to the school and sponsor’s vision and mission for the program was perfect except for the timing.
“My name came up and I met with the team manager, Mr. Christopher Tiu from Akari, and Tita Mozzy (Ravena),” shared the former Ateneo star. “They’ve been explaining to me what’s been happening in Adamson. Also, they’ve been sharing their vision for the team and I really loved their vision. It’s all about developmental programs. It’s all about growing not only as a player but also as a coach.”
Though she does not have a regular stint as a coach, she is known to be a good mentor and an inspiration to her teammates over at Katipunan.
Soriano also had her shining moments at the helm of the Lady Eagles as she led the team to new heights in the Shakey’s V-League during the times she temporarily coached the team.
Alas, her heart, at least for now, belongs to volleyball and the beach.
“My dilemma there is really time. I’ve committed a lot of my time with Beach Volleyball Republic,” she said.
“I was telling them na I want to be fair and I also want to be honest with them. I would want to be a part of that developmental team nga. However, I don’t think time would permit me to do so especially now,” she added.
It is common knowledge to the sport’s fanatics that aside from being a playing coach in the V-League under Bali Pure, Soriano, with fellow former Ateneo stars Dzi Gervacio, Bea Tan, Gretchen Ho and Fille Cainglet, have been giving a huge chunk of their time in promoting beach volleyball in the country which makes her decision to decline the offer totally understandable.
Ultimately, according to her, the plans for the Lady Falcons are exceptional that she just does not want her tight schedule to hinder the team’s resurgence in the UAAP.
“I don’t want to be unfair to Adamson and to the players if I won’t be able to focus my time 100%,” she shared. “Naniniwala po talaga ako sa vision nila. Kung masayang ‘yun because of my lack of time, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep at night. I told them it’s best if they find someone.”
The chance of coaching a UAAP team, being sent to coaching courses abroad, and not to mention the not-too-shabby salary they could have gotten could somehow look too hard to say no to if one is looking from the outside in.
Which is why it is endearing for the 2 spikers to have recognized the huge responsibility that came with the power, gave the whole thing a fair bit of a thought, and politely turned their backs on the offer.
On one day fulfilling her dreams of handling a UAAP team, Tabaquero says: “Mag aaral muna ako. Hindi natin alam in the near future baka mapagbigyan ko ‘yung position if may chance na bibigay ulit si Lord.”
And for Soriano, Padda, an inspiring woman who her teammate Alexa Micek knows in person, is the perfect choice for the spot.
Talking about Adamson pushing to get a woman as a coach, Soriano shares: “Being a female also, that’s very big. I think that’s what they need right now eh. Looking at what’s been happening, they need someone more nurturing kumbaga since it’s on a developmental stage pa.”
“And it doesn’t mean naman na because you’re a female you’re just a nurturer. You can also be the strict, authoritative parent you need to be. I think they got a good coach right now,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio