Two-time champion Foton salvaged some measure of pride when it completed a straight-set conquest of Cocolife to claim the bronze medal of the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
The Tornadoes played an inspired ballgame.
Santiago spearheaded the assault with 10 kills, four blocks and three aces for 17 points while Klisura and Perunicnic submitted 13 and 11 markers in their farewell performance this conference.
The Tornadoes also have an answer to every challenge as they ruled the attack zone, 40-34, and displayed better defense at the net, 8-0, and the service box, 8-2.
But there was one nagging question that Foton coach Moro Branislav couldn’t answer – his future with the team.
Branislav landed in Manila with a rock-star status.
After reviving the volleyball program of North Korea, the Serbian guru burst into local scene as head coach of PSL Manila in the prestigious FIVB Women’s Club World Championship that was held in Manila last year.
Composed of seven local players and seven imports, the home team failed to win a single game, but Branislav’s coaching chops were easily spotted by the Tornadoes.
That’s why hopes were high for Branislav and the Tornadoes this conference.
But after posting a 7-1 win-loss card in the eliminations, Foton crashed with a sorry four-set loss to Petron in the semifinals, a setback that cost it a golden chance to win its third Grand Prix title.
Branislav, however, said he’s still proud of his wards.
“It’s okay. That’s volleyball; some time you win, some time you lose.”
“For my opinion, there are three good teams in this league; F2 Logistics, Petron and Foton. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and coming up with a podium finish is good than having nothing at all.”
But still, a great question hovers over his head: Will he still come back for another tour of duty?
Branislav admitted that despite failing to win any title this year, he’s still proud that they were able to stand up against league supremos F2 Logistics and Petron.
Unfortunately, he’s not really sure if he’s coming back.
In fact, the Tornadoes have yet to sit down and discuss a possible contract extension with the Grand Prix rolling around in two month’s time.
“I honestly do not know.”
“My contract will finish this month. I don’t know if I will be coaching Foton again next year. Maybe yes, maybe no.”
Despite the cloud of uncertainty, he will be ready to go back and steer the Tornadoes to the title anew.
“I am always ready.”
“Maybe that’s how it goes here in the Philippines. Maybe they just want to assess everything before discussing the future. But if ever they will offer me (anything), I will be ready.”