Current College of Saint Benilde Blazers assistant coach Aaron Velez was officially named the Foton Tornadoes’ head coach on Wednesday.
Velez – who also has stints with the National University Lady Bulldogs and Lady Bullpups in his resumé – steps in one of the most high-profile coaching jobs in local volleyball.
Since 2017, the Tornadoes have shuffled through three head coaches.
Last December, Foton replaced Serbian Moro Branislav with Rommel Abella. After a lackluster run in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Cup, in which the Tornadoes started with an 0-3 record, Foton parted ways with Abella and promoted Edjet Mabbayad as the interim head coach.
Velez takes over for a Foton squad that has made several key additions over the past year, but has yet to win a title since the 2016 PSL Grand Prix. Velez welcomes the pressure of reconfiguring one of the best clubs in the country.
With the PSL All-Filipino Cup slated to start on October, Velez has his work cut out for him, especially with Jaja Santiago set to miss the conference due to a club stint in Japan.
“Number one, I’m quite challenged. Number two, I’m excited also to level up if I could say that. Number three, opportunities like this rarely open to work with the players of Foton and their type of management,” he said. “I think, all of us are aware that Foton was one of the pioneers of PSL. We agreed also that we’ll take it one step at a time.
“We need to build foundation again kasi it seems like it’s quite shaky lately. But, with the trust and confidence of Foton management I think we just need to make our system work again,” the youthful mentor added.
“It’s more of the maturity.”