Airess Padda gets her first taste of club league competition when she steers Cocolife in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference starting March 4 at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Padda, the American head coach of Adamson University in the ongoing UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament, has yet to be formally tested as she’s still in her first year coaching in the country.
But the Asset Managers are rolling the dice on her, believing that her penchant for teaching and motivational skills will bring out the best from her players.
Cocolife team official Joshua Ylaya said Padda appears to be a perfect fit in a team that has players like Michele Gumabao, Erika Alkuino, Mika Esperanza, Therese Gaston, Denden Lazaro and Wensh Tiu as nucleus.
“That’s why we’re bringing in coach Air because her different system and different approach to the game would be perfect to a team like us that is trying to find an identity. She’s a very vocal leader and a good motivator. She encourages and brings out the best in the players.”
Not the first choice
But Padda is not the first choice for the role.
Ylaya, who was part of the La Salle men’s team that won the UAAP crown in 2003, admitted that they were initially eyeing New York-based Denis Mente to be their head coach.
Mente is a coaching legend in La Salle Zobel before joining La Salle men’s team, steering the Green Archers to their first UAAP crown in 2001.
“He’s coaching for Yeshiva University in New York and his family is there. That’s why it’s really hard for us to bring him here.”
Ylaya, however, said Padda is also a perfect choice.
Ylaya added that handling the team would not surely get in the way with her duties with the Lady Falcons.
When told about the possibility of winning the crown in their debut season, Ylaya simply brushed it off.
He knows that they’re still a work in progress.
But they’ll surely get there.