FORMER assistant coach RJ Ormilla will now call the shots for the UST Golden Shuttlers this season.
Ormilla replaced Ricky Bartolome, who left his coaching position shortly after assuming post on May 15 due to personal commitments.
Despite having been appointed only this month, the former national player accepted the responsibility and started training right away to get the Shuttlers to tiptop shape just in time for the UAAP.
“More on court drills [ang tututukan namin] kasi papalapit na ang season at magkaiba ang nakukuha mong court endurance kaysa sa nakukuha [mong training] sa field,” Ormilla told the Varsitarian.
Ormilla also wants to brush up on the team’s work ethics.
“Akala [ng ibang players] ‘yung badminton, physical game lang but it’s more of a mind game. [Ang badminton] hindi lang basta-basta pagpalo ng bola, kumbaga [it is] more on [applying] techniques,” Ormilla said.
Ormilla was part of the 2012 Male Shuttlers roster, the last UST team that appeared in the Final Four of the tournament.
The 25-year old will inherit a team with four men’s division titles and one female division title.
Despite wanting to keep UST’s Final Four hopes alive, he admits the campaign will not be easy especially with the departure of some key members.
Female Shuttlers Anne Pimentel and Victoria Vismonte will try to fill in the void left by former captain Steffi Aquino, Irish Macalino and Kristine Gaspar.
John Edgard Reyes and Kristian Barrios will be the Male Shuttlers’ go-to players this season after former captain Paul Pantig and Mark Sotea graduated.
“Sa men’s natin, ‘yung skills nila pang collegiate level. Sa women’s naman, medyo [kailangan pang tutukan] kasi sila rin mismo kumbaga na-shock sila [sa intensity ng training],” Ormilla said.
UST settled for identical fifth-place finishes last season with 5-3 (male) and 3-5 (female) records. The Male Shuttlers came up short of a semifinals appearance after faltering against Ateneo de Manila University.
Former UST head coach Noli Cajefe, who also guided Ormilla during his playing days, believes the new tactician can bring the Shuttlers back to contention.
“RJ is a hard-working and dedicated player. His experience as a national player could boost the team Tiger spirit,” Cajefe said in an online interview.
Ormilla was also part of the national training pool in 2008, but had to leave to focus on his academics.
Despite his short stint as head coach, Bartolome is confident he will leave the team in great hands.
“I know [Ormilla] has a lot to share and he can motivate well for the development of our athletes inside and outside the badminton court,” Bartolome said.