Behind every brilliant team is a brilliant mind. For DLSU Football, assistant coach Alvin Ocampo serves as La Salle’s silent tactician along the sidelines of Hans Smit’s coaching staff. The LaSallian had the chance to sit with the assistant coach of the Football teams to talk about his journey rising through the ranks and how he will continue to make wonders in honor of La Salle.
“Playing for La Salle, lalo na ‘pag Ateneo yung kalaban, it brings out yung best of both teams eh. So kumbaga, nabo-boost din yung football nung time namin. Siyempre, you seldom see a crowd watch football pero once it’s Ateneo-La Salle, palaging madaming tao.”
Ocampo’s journey started back when he was in the first grade, when he started playing football at De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ). He then continued playing for DLSZ until high school before moving to Taft in 1995 to play for the DLSU Men’s Football Team. He maximized his five playing years and won two UAAP championships during his stay with the Seniors’ team.
Working as an assistant coach for head coach Hans Smit was an easy transition with Ocampo since he has played for the renowned coach ever since Grade 6. Smit’s coaching style and beliefs have remained the same. When he was in the sixth grade, Ocampo was exposed to the high school team’s training regimen and was promoted to a higher level yet again when he was in the latter part of high school as Smit made him part of DLSU’s reserve team.
When asked which he enjoys more, playing or coaching, Ocampo quickly answers, “Playing! Iba pa rin ang playing dahil you can contribute inside the field.”
He adds, “[In] Coaching restricted ka lang to watching, tapos bigay ka lang ng adjustment mo eh. Iba pa rin ang playing, you’re there tapos you give a right pass, you give a goal, alam mo ‘yun? ‘Yun yung magandang feeling, yung maka-contribute ka sa loob ng field.”
Accepting the role of coaching
Ocampo started coaching in 2006 for the Men’s team and only began recently for the Women’s in 2014. The pure-blooded Lasallian was already in the corporate world when Smit recruited him to coach by his side. He eventually left his corporate job and went to coaching different La Salle schools full-time. Now, Ocampo also serves as the program head of La Salle Green Hills and in the recently established Laguna campus.
In his 12 years of coaching beside his former mentor, Ocampo shares that Smit has not changed a bit. He emphasizes how tough he is to his players to push their limits. “Actually, iba pa rin eh, when I was playing than when I’m coaching with him. So siyempre tough love yan lagi. He’s a good disciplinarian so yun tinututuloy lang namin. In terms of motivation we extend and we turn yung mga sigaw niya into instructions kung ano yung gusto niya.”
Values and principles
A second voice is what Ocampo describes himself as Smit’s right hand. The coaching staff of the Green-and-White grooms Lasallian athletes from the very beginning. It is one of the objectives of the program to produce home-grown quality athletes from feeder schools like LSGH and DLSZ.
Meanwhile, as a former Football star, he gives guidance to his athletes by citing his experiences. “Individually, I share insights, I share practices, share my experience, share how I played before para one, is to inspire them. Two, is to make them learn on different situations sa game,” says Ocampo when asked how he teaches his principles to his players.
On the flip side, knowing oneself as competitive, Ocampo feels dismayed whenever the Lasallians dominate in a game only to find themselves in the pit of defeat. “I like winning eh, I wanna win. Kaya yung ‘pag pinupush mo yung mga kids tapos ‘di talaga kaya, hindi mo makikita yung gusto mo makita. ‘Pag minsan nakakafrustrate yun eh,” he emphasizes. In turn, he shares the values he upholds in coaching to motivate his mentees. The veteran coach states that there are two things that he believes in.
“One is I believe in second wind. If your body is tired and second wind kicks in, hindi ka na mapapagod. I believe in adrenaline rush. Whenever you get hurt, kaya iblock off sa utak yan eh yung mga pains sa game kaya iblock off,” he mentions.
Aside from his obvious connections with the DLSU Football Team, Ocampo also shares an important bond with a footballer who currently plays for archrivals ADMU Blue Eagles. “I support him,” says Ocampo. But quickly clarified, “Him. I’m not saying team, I support him.”
Reigning UAAP MVP Javier Gayoso has been playing for the Katipunan-based squad since high school and Ocampo admits that he once tried to recruit his talented nephew to switch the Blue-and-White colors for the Green-and-White. However, Gayoso decided to continue his education and playing career in ADMU. “I asked him. Actually it’s his decision eh. Ayaw ko yung you force someone tapos maglalaro eh yung heart niya, ‘di naman nandun, ba’t mo pipilitin di ba? I let him decide.”
Despite seeing his recruitment pitch fail, Ocampo says that he was absolutely fine with Gayoso’s decision. “Ganun talaga eh. My family is more on Ateneo, my dad is an Atenean. Ang importante naman sa dad ko is maganda yung education eh, so either Ateneo or La Salle ka pumunta, walang problema.”
Ocampo also says that he makes an effort to watch Gayoso’s games from time to time. He says that he criticizes his nephew’s games and rectifies the mistakes that he commits on the pitch. “I want him to be one of the best in the Philippines.”
“He’s still young eh. Madami pang matututunan dahil yung past two seasons niya he gets suspended easily sa games eh. Yung patience level niya medyo maikli pa, pero at least ngayon nagmamature na,” Ocampo adds.
All in all, though, the coach appreciates what players from all over the UAAP have done to help make football a more popular sport in the country.
“’Yun ang maganda eh, yung contribution nila sa football. Nakikita natin na kaya ang football na community based eh, you get fans from it eh. Well, pansinin mo, yung Rizal [Memorial Stadium], never naman napupuno yan ‘pag ‘di La Salle-Ateneo eh. Kahit National Team, mas madami pa yata nanonood sa atin eh,” Ocampo concluded.