Foton taps Italian coach for Asian Club Championship

Mark Escarlote on Aug 18, 2016 08:36 PM
Foton taps Italian coach for Asian Club Championship
We're looking at the fourth place knowing that it will be extremely fantastic to achieve it -- Foton foreign coach Fabio Menta

Foton Pilipinas tapped the services of FIVB international volleyball instructor Fabio Menta to call the shots for the squad that will see action in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Volleyball championship with their eyes set on at least a fourth place finish.

The Italian coach said Thursday night during the team’s presentation that the team is looking at a goal of advancing first in the quarterfinals and from there work their way into getting a spot in the Final Four.

Foton is bunched in Group A with Vietnam and Hong Kong in the 13-team event set to run from September 3 to 11 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.   

“We're looking at the fourth place knowing that it will be extremely fantastic to achieve it, so you'll never know,” said the Italian coach, who arrived in the country a week ago. “But we are looking at getting into the quarterfinals and hopefully into the semifinals.”

Menta was joined by American reinforcements Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher together with the core of Foton, the 2015 Grand Prix champion and 2016 All-Filipino Conference runner up, headed by 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago. Also present were local imports Abigail Marano of 2016 AFC champion F2 Logistics, libero Jen Reyes of Petron and RC Cola-Army’s Jovelyn Gonzaga.

Meanwhile, the Tornadoes also announced that they've enlisted 6-foot-2 Dindin Santiago-Manabat as the 2014 top overall pick and former Petron middle will be reunited with her younger sister Jaja. Santiago-Manabat, who sat out the 2015 AFC after last seeing action in the 2015 Grand Prix Finals for Petron which eventually surrendered to Foton, delivered a baby girl last month.

The foreign coach, who will have Foton coach Vilet Ponce De Leon as lieutenant, said that he is excited to handle the team. The Tornadoes will leave on Sunday to play in a pocket tournament in Thailand.   

“The team is a very good team, a mix of enthusiasm and youth and we're here to develop them into a higher level volleyball to be able to play against the teams that are coming like Thailand, Japan and China. So we will try and study what they do and make them do drills,” added Menta, who led the Sunburners volleyball team in Nassau as the vice champion on the Bahamas before taking the reign of Nassau’s Texaco Star.

Menta, who brought Majuro and Marshal Islands to the semifinals of the National Male area for the 2016 Rio Olympics, had a chance assess the Tornadoes during the PSL AFC Finals.   

“Basically what I've seen in the Finals and the videos that I've seen, we got the power and we got the speed and some of the players we have to get involved in the game sometimes the distribution is not equal because it depends on the rotation,” he said.

“But the strength is the power, the jumping and we're very good in being agressive on the attack. The defensive phase should be addressed seriously because I think it's a whole country thing not (just) Foton for sure,” Menta added. “It's just the feeling for me, coming from another place, is there are a lot of effort on the attack as much as the defense so we'll try as much to work hard on the defense try to put more discipline on the floor in order to attack better.”

“We'll go hard on each game, you'll never know in sports right? But Hong Kong and Vietnam the first two games seems to be affordable we'll try hard to face them.”




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