DESPITE a winless weekend, foreign tacticians Air Padda and Godfrey Okumu are glad to work together as Motolite coaches in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Reinforced Conference.
Although the team has yet to win after back-to-back games over the weekend and lost two key players with reigning MVP Myla Pablo sidelined with back muscle strain and import Edina Selimovic suffering a bruised knee cap, the Motolite coaches are happy with their new partnership even though it hasn’t started to click.
Padda, the former Adamson head coach, treats former rival-turned-workmate Okumu of University of the Philippines equally even though she outranks her assistant coach.
They are mixing the American style of Padda and the Japanese coaching style of the Kenyan coach in calling the shots of a young Philippine club team composed of UP and Adamson players.
“It's really like a work marriage,” said Padda. “We're like a merging of two really different styles of volleyball so we're always learning from one another. It's a really good balance.”
For Okumu, even they came from different teams, different countries, and have different systems, volleyball unites them.
“Volleyball is a universal language that people speak. We have the same idea; we think the same. It’s fun working together,” he said.
Padda agreed that her intensity and Okumu’s calmness is a good combination.
“Sometimes, I could be really intense. And he's just so calm and peaceful at times. And it's really good, the partnership we have because it's super balanced,” she said.
It hasn’t worked yet after two matches for both coaches but Okumu has no regrets on his decision to help Padda and Motolite.
“Everything is perfect. I'm happy that this is a dream come true for many people who wanted to see us work together,” Okumu said. “I'm so happy that I made the decision to work with her, to work with Motolite and I believe volleyball will change with time.”
Both foreign coaches are aware that a lot of fans are teasing them with each other, they are happy that the fans' dream came true but they are looking forward to the success of this partnership.
“I'm happy, like you said, a lot of people have been wanting this. I've been wanting it. I’ve been wanting to see what could happen when two coaches like us get together,” Padda said.
But for now, Padda and Okumu will be back to the drawing board as they will play with one import Channon Thompson with Selimovic out for at least a week, while Pablo is still uncertain for their next three matches on Wednesday against BanKo, Saturday against Creamline and Sunday against BaliPure.
“Inconsistent. This is our first year. This is all new. The team is new. Most of the players haven't played pro before. It's all a learning experience. We're just learning as we go,” said Padda.