FOTON Pilipinas bowed to home team Sisaket, 13-25, 10-25, 18-25, on Wednesday in its first match in the 2016 Select Tuna Thailand Volleyball Championship Sisaket at the Wi Sommai gymnasium in Thailand.
Head coach Fabio Menta is pleased the team has finally seen action, saying playing time together is more important at this stage than the match result.
Menta, the Italian tactician tapped as Foton Pilipinas eyes a semifinal finish in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship on Sept. 3 to 11, mainly wants to give the team an experience in high level competion.
“Today, as a new coach bringing in new ideas, the score is the last thing I am thinking of,” said Menta, brought in by Foton only last month.
“I want to see the discipline and game plan, obsessive research of players trying to disrupt their game and team spirit. I want to keep in mind that our real opponent is not this team (Sisaket), but Hong Kong on the 3rd of September in the AWCC.”
Foton is without middle blocker Jaja Santiago and opposite Jovelyn Gonzaga, players expected to play major minutes in the AWCC.
Santiago is concentrating on National University while Gonzaga, an enlisted member of the Philippine Army, failed to secure a travel permit.
Menta said although imports Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher are on board as well as guest players Aby Marano and Jen Reyes as well as mainstays Cherry Rondina, Patty Orendain and EJ Laure, the absence of Santiago and Gonzaga still deals a major blow to their preparation.
“Not having these main players when you try to mechanize your movements is a major step back to your work,” he said.
“I have a big surprise for everybody but trying it with only three days before such an important tournament is a gamble. That we will have to take away.”
Foton Pilipinas next takes on Bangkok Glass and Rungsit University.