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Tiebreaker Times


Aaron Velez grateful to have faced topflight coaches

BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Cherry Tiggo head coach Aaron Velez is arguably the most criticized individual inside the Premier Volleyball League bubble.

Everything started during the elimination rounds when the star-studded Crossovers, led by sisters Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat, dropped two five-setters against an unheralded BaliPure squad and Sta. Lucia, respectively.

Velez quickly earned the ire of fans on social media. The words ‘experiment’ and ‘bad decision’ were the center of the storm as fans pointed out Velez’s unusual combinations of players inside the court.

Still, despite the flak that he’s been receiving all throughout their campaign, Velez opted to take the high road and focus on the team’s goal.2021-PVL-Open-BaliPure-vs-Chery-Tiggo-Graze-Bombita Aaron Velez grateful to have faced topflight coaches News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“At this time of the pandemic, these challenging times, I think it’s better to be kind, better to appreciate one another and be fortunate that we can do what we want to do,” expressed Velez.

“It just made us grow as a person and as a team. Whether there’s bashers or anything, what’s important is I trusted my players to perform whatever rotation it is.”

And on Friday evening, Velez turned all the doubters to believers.

This, as he led Chery Tiggo to the first-ever professional title in the Philippines after the five-set, 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-8 victory over Creamline in the Open Conference finals.2021-PVL-Open-Creamline-vs.-Chery-Tiggo-Finals-G3-Tots-Carlos-6562 Aaron Velez grateful to have faced topflight coaches News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“We have to work hard for every point when I saw that the ladies were really working triple time and they are offering one another until the last point just to assure our win,” said Velez — the first coach to win the PVL’s maiden professional season.

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For Velez, the criticism he received, according to him, will only help him to become the best coach that he can be. After all, he had just beaten one of the best in the game in Tai Bundit.

That, along with the lessons that he learned through the high-caliber coaches that he faced in the bubble.2021-PVL-Open-Chery-Tiggo-vs.-Choco-Mucho-Semis-G3-Aaron-Velez-3587 Aaron Velez grateful to have faced topflight coaches News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“I’m just so thankful to actually compete with seasoned and high-caliber coaches. With all humility, I have a lot of things to learn and I’ll just grow as a coach and I hope I can also inspire more players and more individuals,” he said.

“Probably it’s in the books but I think I have to push harder.”

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