The Philippine volleyball community is grieving due to the untimely loss of multi-titled coach Nes Pamilar who succumbed to heart failure. But this did not stop the players or coaches he has mentored or worked with to reminisce about the man that has become like a father or a brother to them.
More than a coach
His former players share what’s he like beyond the X’s and O’s. “Marami akong natutunan sa kanya like yung pagmamahal mo sa family mo,” Jen Reyes fondly remembered. “Hindi lang sa paglalaro ang matututunan mo sa kanya. At yung tiwala niya sa akin nakakalakas ng paglalaro. Tunay na gaganahan ka talaga”, she added.
For Jheck Dionela, the deceased coach embraced the role of being a father to her as well. “As a coach, more of a father figure siya kasi he really cares about his players. Kalma lang siya and very precise sa instructions na gusto niya mangyari. I also remember na kwela din siya. Masayahin at palabiro kaya magaan kasama. Also, family oriented yang si coach.”
The Cignal libero added, “Nung dumalaw kami sa bahay niya, naalala ko na pinagluto kami ni Tita Bing (Coach Nes’ wife) at dun ko nakita ang pagiging family oriented niya and it got my highest respect for that. A very strong individual that will be surely missed.” Both Reyes and Dionela played under Pamilar’s tutelage for the Cagayan Valley Lady Rising Suns in the Shakey’s V-League and the Philippine Superliga.
Setter Chie Saet who also played for the decorated tactician in the Cagayan squad has nothing but fond memories about her former coach. “He was like my second father sa akin. Nung nasa Cagayan pa lang, medyo nahihiya at natatakot ako sa kanya kasi sabi nila masungit daw si coach Nes, pero hindi naman pala. He is a very jolly person. Hindi mo nga maiisip na komedyante yan.”
The current setter of Petro Gazz Angels was also quick to share how helpful Pamilar is especially to people undergoing trying times. “Matulungin si coach. Nung nagkaroon kami ng problema sa Cagayan, siya talaga ang nilapitan ko kasi alam niya ang mga pinagdadaanan ko during that time. Sa kahit anong paraan na pwede siyang makatulong sa akin at sa mga naging players niya, ginagawa niya talaga.”
Last but not the least, former Tacloban Fighting Warays open spiker Shola Alvarez narrated the lighter side of her mentor. “Yung ngiti niya po. Yung ngiti niya, mamimiss ko yun. Yun ang pinakamamimiss ko at hindi makakalimutan. Tapos kapag nag-joke siya, mapapaisip ka talaga tapos matatawa ka na lang bigla kapag nahuli mo na, yan ang mamimiss ko”, said the NCAA Season 93 MVP.
Co-leagues remember Coach Nes
Cignal HD Spikers head coach Edgar Barroga donned the FEU colors together with Pamilar. What he remembers the most about his teammate though was how he can balance being caring and strict. “Yung mag alaga ng players at maguide niya sa magandang sistema niya yan ang masasabi ko kay coach Nes. Also yung pagiging disciplinarian niya sa players”, he said.
As for Noel Zarate who covered Pamilar in the V-league, he remembered how vocal Pamilar was while considering what’s best for all. “Si Coach Nes was never afraid to say how he felt. He harnessed so many talents, especially setters, and even those who were under him for only a short span of time felt his impact not only on the court but also in their lives. I was very fortunate to be among those he confided with during his days as national team mentor. Volleyball just lost one of its figures.”
Indeed, Philippine volleyball lost a great stalwart in Pamilar. But while he may not be here physically, his memories and impact will remain alive in the countless players, coaches, and sports broadcasting practitioners that he has influenced over his decades-long career.