Mixed emotions for Abella

Friday, 12 Jan 2018
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad

There’s a merry mix of emotions in Rommel Abella’s heart when he calls the shots for Foton in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix starting Feb. 17.

Abella said he is both pressured and excited as he formally makes his head coaching debut in the most prestigious club league in the country.

Prior to landing at Foton’s camp, Abella is known as the chief deputy of Francis Vicente when Philips Gold made a serious run at the Grand Prix title in 2015.

Abella and the Lady Slammers moved to the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) few months later where he won three titles, thanks to the solid core of Michele Gumabao, Melissa Gohing and Myla Pablo.

After PVL, he made his way back to the PSL as deputy of rookie coach John Paul Doloiras for Victoria Sports-UST.

The young Tigresses failed to win a single match, but their impressive play and fighting spirit kicked the doors wide open for Abella to land a coaching job at Foton.

But Abella admitted that winning the title in his rookie season would not be a cakewalk.

“I have mixed emotions.”

“I’m excited because this will be my first time to serve as head coach in the PSL and, at the same time, nervous because I know that there are a lot of expectations on me. But I am taking the Grand Prix one game at a time. Rest assured that we would work hard and give our all every single game.”

Major challenge

Abella admitted that the Grand Prix — the conference where the Tornadoes won two titles – would be a major challenge.

Foton, for one, will be marching without Jaja Santiago and EJ Laure, who will play for their respective university teams in the UAAP.

At the same time, Serbian coach Moro Branislav is no longer around as well as Sara Klisura, the power-hitting Serbian who broke the league’s scoring record when she erupted for 41 points against F2 Logistics in the Grand Prix last year.

The Tornadoes, however, already acquired Mina Aganon from Petron and Gyzelle Sy from Pocari Sweat.

One more middle blocker is expected to sign up while they are on the look out for another wing spiker.

They opened their training camp last Monday and their preparation will go full blast next week.

Abella said leading the Tornadoes to a podium finish would be a major challenge.

“It’s going to be tough, especially with the emergence of other powerhouse teams like F2 Logistics, Petron and even Cocolife.”

“But we will surely play our hearts out every single game. We know that Foton is good (team) during the Grand Prix so the expectations of fans are quite high. We take it as a challenge.”