I’m sure you have noticed that when television cameras pan to the bench of the UPWVT, the cameramen sometimes zoom in on a man who you will find either shouting words of encouragement to the team or whispering comments and feedback in the ears of head coach Godfrey Okumu. That man is Jose Mari Angulo. Coach Joma for short.
Coach Joma is not from the community – he didn’t study nor play for UP. He cut his eyeteeth on volleyball playing for AMA University in the early 1990s. Later he coached PSBA to several NCRAA men’s volleyball championships. Currently, he is also with the Foton Tornadoes in the Philippine SuperLiga. Yet he feels right at home with the UPWVT. Maybe it’s the unifying passion and dedication for the sport.
“I love working with this team,” glowed Coach Joma. “I am very optimistic that in the near future we can turn the Lady Fighting Maroons’ fortunes around.”
It was during a scrimmage between Foton and UP, when he was first invited by UPWVT sponsor Dominic Sytin together with his brother, Foton Motor Philippines President – Rommel Sytin, to help the women’s team.
“We were initially asked to help out, not as the lead coaches, but to look for (coaches and trainers),” related Coach Joma. “But Coach Okumu personally picked me. And Boss Dominic asked my help. So how can you say no? It was a good decision.”
Coach Joma is looking forward to the teaching aspect of the game. “That is a challenge because these kids have been exposed to a variety of systems. With Coach Okumu introducing the Japanese style of volleyball which is a fast-paced game, it is going to take time for everything to sink in. So patience is just as important for everyone; coaches included.”
And Coach Joma loves the all-hands-on-deck approach. “Before Coach Joyce (Palad) joined us, I was tasked to handle statistics, on-court drills, and recruitment. But now, we all share all the labor. And it is all good. As for Coach Okumu, what coach doesn’t see, I observe and share those inputs. And that says something about our rapport as a staff. Our communication lines are open. I like working with these ideas. And the players are like sponges as well — gutom sa information.”
As with any sports team’s journey to excellence, Coach Joma recognizes that the Lady Fighting Maroons will continue to benefit from time and experience to master the new game plan. Already the team has shown many great moments in their games. Valuable learning from training sessions, scrimmages, and each of the games serves to inspire and strengthen the team’s Fighting Maroons spirit.
“I guess it helps that Coach Godfrey and myself came in with different perspectives on the game or even life. At this point, it is give and take between us and the players. And that is good. Now we have to make sure we get them ready for the future.”
Our coaches’ rich experiences from the outside bodes well for us as they look inside the UPWVT.