When Foton Tornadoes won and force a do-or-die match against F2 Logistics in the quarterfinals of the PSL Grand Prix, most were surprise with the outcome most especially with what happen to the Tornadoes in the preliminaries. But one man never gave up even if the players had doubts and now they are slowly getting back on track.
Tornadoes now gaining strength
The Tornadoes started the conference with a win against United Volleyball Club but after that went on an 11-game losing streak, their longest in franchise history, but head coach Aaron Velez still continued to believe in her girls even if they were on a dry spell and now they are back on track and are now on a 3-game winning streak heading to their do-or-die match against F2 Logistics. “I’m really happy for the ladies. Slowly they are taking their roles seriously. But I think we still have to be more connected. The trust and the fluidity of the communication needs to be significant lalo na napahaba namin ang serye. Pero knowing F2, mas lalo yang magpupursige. Sa amin lang talaga, kelangan namin mabuo yung teamwork namin at tiwala sa bawat isa. Kelangan namin mapatunayan na kaya namin.” said the youthful mentor
Velez, who is in his second conference as head coach of Foton, believes that it will be a chess match and whoever wants it more will win. “Para sa amin sa larong volleyball lalo na sa PSL, marami nagsasabi na kung sino ang magandang gising,yan ang mananalo. Ngayon, kung sino ang mas gutom at sino ang mas gusto manalo yan ang may upper hand sa laban.”
Foton’s ASO will be the yardstick for success for the Tornadoes
During their games in the preliminaries, the local support of Foton were nowhere to be found but in their quarterfinals game against F2 last Saturday, it was Mina Aganon, Jaja Santiago and Maika Ortiz who were key players in their success of forging a do-or-die match against the Cargo Movers. Santiago, who was just playing her fourth game this tournament, scored 20 points but it was the contribution of Aganon and Ortiz that were vital. Aganon, who was held scoreless in the first two sets, finished with nine points while Ortiz finished with a season-high 11 points to help out their reinforcements Milagros Collar and Courtney Felinski.
Velez believes that their local support is going to be important most especially that F2 has a very strong local crew. “Given na ang volleyball skills pero I want Maika and Mina to really own their position. I want them to take the lead. Ever since sinasabi nila eto ang superstar, hindi sila yung stars, ang akin gusto ko makita ng marami na pwde din silang maging influence sa volleyball. Yun ang gusto ko sa kanila. Its really a test of determination and courage lalo na sa mga locals ko.”
In a nutshell, Velez believes that whoever wants it more and has the momentum will take home the series. “This series is a game of momentum. Ginagawa ng F2 and homework nila, ginagawa din namin ang homework namin, so its more of who wants it more kaya masaya ako para sa mga bata. Meron pa rin mga doubts siyempre pero i’m giving it to the ladies.”
With a tough series ahead for Velez and the Tornadoes, it will be on who has the heart and will to win that will get the series, and Velez believes their team can topple a giant and be the team to look out once again in the Grand Prix.