SAN Sebastian College libero-turned-assistant coach Jewelle Bermillo didn’t let her head coach Roger Gorayeb down as she steered the Lady Stags to their first win in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference.
It started as a joke when Bermillo asked Gorayeb to list her as an assistant coach since the longtime Lady Stags mentor didn’t want the second-year libero to be burned out by playing both for San Sebastian in the Collegiate and BaliPure in the Open Conference.
“Una kasi dapat di talaga ako line-up, ang gagawin lang sakin ni coach ipapahinga lang ako kasi may game (sa BaliPure),” Bermillo said. “Sabi ko, ‘Coach sobrang sama ng loob ko sayo kasi di mo ko niline up.’ Tas inexplain naman sa akin ni coach.”
“Biniro ko lang din si coach di ko naman akalain na kakagatin ni coach, nagulat na lang ako na binigyan niya ako ng uniform na pang assistant coach,” she added.
The player-turned-assistant coach was on Gorayeb’s side in the first three losses of the Lady Stags in Pool A, falling out of semifinals contention.
Until she faced her biggest coaching test as Gorayeb missed the Lady Stags match against Letran Lady Knights on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan City as his beloved pet dog passed away.
“Kagabi palang pagtawag palang sa akin ni Coach Roger, 'O Jewelle, kaya mo ba mag coach?' Kumakain ako noon e tapos biglang, 'Jewelle, ikaw muna mag coach ah.’ Sobrang kinabahan ako,” Bermillo shared. “Sabi niya, 'Kaya mo 'yan, ganyan ganyan...I-guide mo lang sila.”
“Napasige po lang ako pero kinontact ko na kaagad sila na, magtulungan tayo para makuha natin 'yung panalo natin,” she added.
As the lone coaching staff of Gorayeb, the 19-year-old Lady Stag had to take over and call the shots for her teammates.
Given the daunting task to stop San Sebastian’s three-game skid in Pool A, Bermillo felt so pressured as this was the first time she would be coaching a team.
“Siyempre sabi ko sa kanila, kung ano ilalabas nila, ibabaling sa akin kasi ako 'yung nandito e,” Bermillo said. “Kinakabahan din ako e, di ko alam kung paano ba magsulat ng stats, ng pagta-timeout at ano gagawin, first time ko lahat kaya nakakapanibago pero ang saya sa feeling pala na coach.”
“Tapos kanina, bago magstart, ako 'yung nape-pressure kasi chine-cheer nila ako, sabi nila 'Go coach! Go coach!'” she added.
Playing under pressure has been the problem of the Lady Stags in the past games that’s why Bermillo had to hide her feelings and loosen up in coaching the team.
“Sabi ko, isipin niyo nalang lahat ng ginawa niyo sa training last week, eto na 'yun, dito niyo ilabas, pakita natin na kaya natin na walang pressure lalo na wala si Coach,” the sophomore Lady Stag said. “Yun nalang din ang ibabalik namin kay Coach na kahit wala siya dito, kaya namin maglaro ng maayos.”
The Lady Stags started out flat losing the first set and were pushed to their limits as the Lady Knights forced a tight duel in each frame but Bermillo didn’t stop motivating her wards.
“Sabi ko lang sa kanila na mag enjoy lang sila kasi nawala 'yung communication nila, natataranta kasi sila. Sabi ko, wag kayo mataranta, magrelax kayo, dahan dahanin niyo,” Bermillo told the team. “Kung minamadali ng kabila, basta sa atin, pabagalin natin. Wag natin sabayan 'yung nilalaro ng kabila. Nagkaroon sila ng kumpiyansa tapos nagkaroon sila ng tiwala.”
Bermillo’s coaching worked wonders as San Sebastian College finally ended a three-game skid taking down Letran, 20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 26-24.
“Iba pala sa feeling na pag nanalo 'yung team mo tapos ikaw 'yung coach. Ang saya sa feeling. Halo halo ang nararamdaman ko, una pressure tapos sobrang saya,” the young coach said.
The mourning Gorayeb found a reason to smile as his young assistant coach and wards delivered a huge win on their own.
“Sobrang saya ni coach, hindi niya akalain na mananalo kami. Tinanong niya kung sino mas magandang laro, ano nangyari sa game. Sabi ko, lahat naman coach, gumana,” Bermillo said. “Nag tulungan silang kaya nanalo 'yung team. Dahil doon, ang pinaka reward sa amin ni coach, wala kaming training sa Monday.“
From an unlucky BaliPure libero last Reinforced Conference receiving a dazing facial from Petro Gazz import Wilma Salas and got hit on the nape by teammate Danijela Dzakovic, Bermillo is grateful for all the good things that is happening to her with a coaching opportunity in the Collegiate Conference and a vast-improvement for the Water Defenders already winning two games in the first round of the Open Conference.
“Sobrang saya, sobrang blessed na andaming opportunities na nangyari. Kung panget yung nangyari last conference ngayon magaganda yung nangyayari,” she said.
When asked if she has plans to be a coach in the future, Bermillo considers it but for now she wants to be a good player first.