FOTON coach Aaron Velez said there is nothing certain about the return of sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat for the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix next year.
The new Foton coach said the return of the Santiago sisters will depend on their campaign in the Japan V.League, which will run until March. The PSL elimination round is scheduled to last until February 23.
Jaja and Ageo Medics are currently at seventh place with a 4-5 win-loss record while Dindin's Toray Arrows are running eighth with 4-4 card.
“Hindi pa ako makapagsalita sa kanila kasi hindi pa ako aware sa kung anong magiging standings ng teams nila,” Velez said. “Kung halimbawang aabot sila, very minimal na rin kasi magii-start tayo (sa PSL), sa kanila papunta pa lang semifinals.”
But regardless of whether the Santiago sisters or another key player in Ateneo star Bea de Leon are around or not, Velez believes the rest of the Tornadoes will be ready to step up just like they did in the PSL All-Filipino Conference.
Without the Santiago sisters, the Tornadoes found a new go-to scorer in Mina Aganon. Mainstays Maika Ortiz, CJ Rosario, Gyzelle Sy and Jen Reyes were also instrumental as well as Carla Sandoval and Raine Fabay.
After the Tornadoes' campaign ended with a 28-26, 19-25, 19-25, 18-25 loss to Cignal in the knockout quarterfinals last Saturday, Velez shifted his focus to next year’s import-flavored conference in February.
In fact, he already has one import in mind from the three maximum reinforcements allowed per team.
“Sa ngayon, masasabi kong may isa na,” he said. “Nakapagplano naman na kami. Kailangan lang namin i-solidify before the year ends as of the mean time. I think marami pang aabangan for our team.”