FOTON's new head coach, Aaron Velez, wants everyone from the Tornadoes to contribute for them to fill in the big shoes of sisters Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Jaja Santiago in the 2018 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference.
Ushering a new era as Dindin and Jaja took their talents to Toray Arrows and Ageo Medics, respectively, in Japan’s V. Premier League, the Tornadoes leaned on the collective effort of new faces to escape Generika-Ayala Lifesavers in five sets, 20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 19-25, 15-5, on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Velez was glad that he won his first assignment as Foton’s new head coach with a great teamwork from Mina Aganon, Maika Ortiz, Shaya Adorador, Gen Casugod, Arianne Layug, setter Gyzelle Sy and libero Jen Reyes.
“In every unit naman eh, kailangan ng isang player para mabuo yung isang team,” he said. “So everyone sa team ngayon, from the coaching staff and all of the players, nagco-contribute sila more. Kaya parang, any amount malaki yun.”
Although they got their first win to open their All-Filipino campaign, Velez confessed that missing the Santiago sisters throughout their campaign is a daunting task
“Mahirap talaga, walang madali. Lahat talaga pinaghihirapan,” he said. “Kaya for this win, masarap yung pakiramdam. Pero we just started pero uunti-untiin natin yung proseso.”
That’s why Velez is reminding his players three important things in this campaign.
“Sa akin, ang inaano ko lang sa kanila, number one, walang expectations. Number two, hard work. Number three, be mindful,” he said. “Kasi napansin ko everybody seems to be dictating na itong gawin, ganito. Pero nung nag-play around lang kami dun, I think nag-favor sa amin ngayon.”
Velez was happy to win his first game as Foton head coach but he wants his players to be happier even it’s just their first game and there are still a lot of things to be done.
“Happy in a way, but not yet satisfied. Marami pa tayong kailangang pag-igihan. Gusto ko lang ma-develop ngayon, kung ako masaya, dapat yung players maging mas masaya,” he concluded. “Sabi ko nga, ako lang naman nagma-manage, kami lang nagco-coach, pero the ones actually pouring themselves out are actually the players. So I want them to be happy.”