HIS attention was called on late notice, but nonetheless Jessie Lopez delivered on his first attempt as temporary coach of Philippine Air Force, which moved within a win of claiming third place in the Shakey’s V-League Season 11 Open Conference.
The Air Spikers answered the call of Lopez as they took Game 1 of their best-of-three duel with PLDT Home Telpad, 16-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-12, on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
Lopez, an Airman Second Class, was only told about his coaching job three days ago since head mentor has been pulled out of the remainder of the tournament due to a special task assigned by the Air Force office.
“Si coach Aying lang kasi may special task siya na utos ng office, siya lang ang fit sa task na 'yun kaya siya wala,” said Lopez. “Kami ang available personel so kami ang nandito ngayon.”
The former Far Eastern University standout also happens to be the setter for Air Force and Power Pinoys which placed seventh in the 2014 Asian Men's Club Championship.
Still, the 28-year-old Lopez admitted having felt the pressure of handling a team for the first time.
“Na-pressure din ako kasi hindi ko ang alam ang takbo ng team. Hindi ko kabisado, although napapanood ko rin sila sa ibang liga,” he said.
"So for me, it was a challenge, may pressure but exciting kasi 28 pa lang ako, ang bata ko pa para mag-coach pero, sa military pag may task na pinagawa sa 'yo, you have to perform,” he added.
But Esteban gave him pieces of advice before the match, telling him to just enjoy the game.
Lopez was with his classmates Airman Second Class Jeffrey Malabanan, Airman Second Class Rene John Balse, Sgt. Marnel Tajanlangit, and officer-in-charge Major Ramil Ranario during the game.