FOTON Pilipinas needs to find its own identity and the Filipino way of playing great volleyball.
Renowned Italian instructor Fabio Menta said this as the team that will represent the Philippines in the coming Asian Volleyball Championships gets ready to leave for a weeklong preparation in Thailand this weekend.
“Watching the games of Brazil, Italy, Cuba and Russia, they are all different. We have to identify the team’s soul and spirit. Get the Filipino way of playing volleyball and hopefully compete,” said Menta after team manager Jose Mari Angulo introduced him Thursday evening to scribes at the Ka Tunying Restaurant in Quezon City.
Menta, who began his career in 1996, is currently an FIVB international instructor, and is entrusted to develop a grassroots’ course for beach volleyball in Majuro and the Marshall Islands.
Team Pilipinas, coached by Vilet Ponce de Leon, are set to see action from Sept. 3 to 11 in the 2016 Asian Volleyball Club Championships at the Alonte Sports Complex in Binan Laguna.
Two American reinforcements, Ariel Usher and Lindsay Statlzer, who saw action in the Grand Prix last year, are back.
They will have season members of the Foton Tornadoes in the roster, including Jaja Santiago, Cherry Ann Rondina, EJ Laure, Angeli Araneta, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Bia General, Patty Orendain and Ivy Perez. Veterans Aby Marano of F2 Logistics, Jen Reyes of Petron and Jovelyn Gonzaga of RC Cola-Army are reinforcing the squad.
Menta emphasized the need to hone both the tactical and the technical side of Team Pilipinas’ game.
“The higher you go, that Foton’s ambition, the faster your game, and the more powerful it becomes. Very tough job, and we don’t have much time,” added Menta.
Meanwhile, former National University Lady Bulldog Dindin Santiago-Manabat is returning, and has signed up for the Foton Tornadoes, some three months after giving birth to her first baby.
The 6’2 middle blocker is the twin of Jaja, who has joined last 2015.
Dindin quit the Petron Blaze Spikers due to pregnancy last year.