Saturday evening truly represented a seismic shift in the Foton franchise.
The proud club team debuted in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Cup with a new monicker, Blue Energy, fitting for their severely different lineup.
Foton were without their two biggest stars in Jaja Santiago and Dindin Santiago-Manabat, who were both competing in the Japan V-Premiere League. They also had Aaron Velez as their head coach for the first time.
All the changes seemed to rejuvenate Foton, evident in their match against the Generika-Ayala Lifesavers.
A team that had previously had trouble closing out matches, Foton showed composure down the stretch against the Lifesavers, who delivered a biting upset against them in the Invitational Cup.
“Well both teams actually performed well for a first game. Nag-favor din sa amin because the girls, actually, were very mindful. The players were very aggressive. They’re very hungry for a win,” said Velez.
“Sa akin, ang inaano ko lang sa kanila, number one, walang expectations. Number two, hard work. Number three, [be] mindful. Kasi napansin ko everybody seems to be dictating na itong gawin, ganito. Pero nung nag-play around lang kami doon, I think nag-favor sa amin ngayon.”
Without the Santiago sisters, Velez believes his team can fill the void through cooperation and willingly accepting more responsibility.
“In every unit naman, kailangan ng isang player para mabuo ‘yung isang team. So everyone sa team ngayon, from the coaching staff and all of the players, nagco-contribute sila more. Kaya parang, any amount lalaki yun,” he explained.
“Mahirap talaga, walang madali. Lahat talaga pinaghihirapan. Kaya for this win, masarap yung pakiramdam. We just started, pero uunti-untiin natin yung proseso.”
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