Japan taught us a lesson – Foton coach Menta

Mark Escarlote on Sep 06, 2016 07:59 PM
Japan taught us a lesson – Foton coach Menta
We know that we don’t belong to that level yet but we are studying to learn from this team and see how a team in this level play volleyball -- Foton Pilipinas coach Fabio Menta

BINAN CITY --- Foton Pilipinas suffered a terrible beating against NEC Red Rockets but the Tornadoes learned a valuable lesson from the Japanese on what high level of volleyball is all about.

Italian coach Fabio Menta despite the loss was still able to flash a smile knowing that his wards were able to observe, absorb and experience firsthand the international kind of play that the Japanese has.  

“When we were in the bus I tweeted, “We are going to school, and Japan is the teacher”. And we really learned a lesson today,” said Menta after the Tornadoes’ 13-25, 7-25, 15-25, clinical whipping at the hands of the still unbeaten Japanese Tuesday in the 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena here.

“So we went to school and we do realized that that was a really different level of volleyball,” he added. “NEC is one of the 10 or 15 of the best clubs in the world.”

It took the Japanese, who are yet to lose a set in the tournament, only 82 minutes to send Foton Pilipinas, which played without injured American import Lindsay Stalzer (back spasm), to its second straight loss.

“We know that we don’t belong to that level yet but we are studying to learn from this team and see how a team in this level play volleyball,” Menta said.

The host club team held their own in the early going of the opening set before slowly fading away midway in the frame. Japan clobbered the Tornadoes in second set with a 9-0 start. Foton Pilipinas was able to build a 4-2 lead in the third frame on a service ace by Rhea Dimaculangan and kept the game close trailing, 11-12, before Japan unleashed another barrage of attacks to overwhelm the Tornadoes.  

“I’m very happy with little parts of this game. For a few minutes in the first set and in the third set we have been playing at the same level (of Japan),” said Menta.

“We’ve been able to put pressure on their defense. We’ve been anticipating some plays and we got their blockers open or only one blocker,” the foreign mentor explained. “We’ve been able to execute our game plan. It becomes difficult to hold our game plan for a one hour or one and a half hour when your players are so young and so inexperienced in international level.”

Japan, Menta said, controlled the tempo of the game and technically dismantled the Tornadoes. 

“They’ve been absolutely fantastic in slowing down the tempo or speed up the plays to move our defense. We lost that so many times,” he said. “And then we fought back with the right discipline with three or four points but then they slowed down the tempo again and they shoot the ball in (zone) four and create a lot of problems with our block on the right side. So this is a high level of volleyball and we are just studying.”

Against Japan, Menta, also had the opportunity to give the likes of EJ Laure and setter Ivy Perez a chance to experience playing against a top caliber Asian team. 

“I’m working inside a program. We know that Japan is not a team we can play against,” the very vocal coach said. “They are too strong for us so I need to put my youngest players on the court to gain experience. We’ve done that with Ivy and we’ve done that on EJ.”

Laure and Perez were fielded in the second set. Laure scored the first of only two points earned by Foton Pilipinas players. The Tornadoes got five points in the second frame from Japan’s errors.      

Foton Pilipinas will play the taller Kazakhstan side, which was swept by Japan in the pool play, on Wednesday.

 

 

 

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles 

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