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Foton Pilipinas takes on Thai team in prelude to AVC WCC

Foton Pilipinas will be kicking off their campaign in the 2016 Select Tuna Thailand Volleyball Championship against the home team, Sisaket, later tonight at the Wi Sommai gymnasium in Sisaket Province, Thailand.

Game time is at 6:00 pm, but head coach Fabio Menta said the final score will be the least of their concerns.

Menta, the Italian tactician who was brought in to guide Foton Pilipinas to a semifinal finish in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship (AWCC) from September 3 to 11, said he wants to give the team a good idea of how it feels competing at a higher level.

“Today, as a new coach bringing in new ideas, the score is the last thing I am thinking of,” said Menta, who had a significant tour of duty with Cook Islands before being appointed as Foton head coach last month.

“I want to see the discipline and game plan, obsessive research of players trying to disrupt their game and team spirit. I want to keep in mind that our real opponent is not this team (Sisaket), but Hong Kong on the 3rd of September in the AWCC.”

Foton Pilipinas landed in Sisaket late Sunday without prized middle blocker Jaja Santiago and opposite Jovelyn Gonzaga, two vital players who have been tipped to get the lion’s share of minutes in the AVC WCC.

Santiago is tied up with her school chores at National University, while Gonzaga failed to secure a travel permit since she is an enlisted member of the Philippine Army.AVC-WCC-Ariel-Usher-x-Lindsay-Stalzer Foton Pilipinas takes on Thai team in prelude to AVC WCC News PSL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

Menta said that although imports Lindsay Stalzer and Ariel Usher are on board, as well as guest players Aby Marano and Jen Reyes, and mainstays Cherry Rondina, Patty Orendain and EJ Laure, the absence of Santiago and Gonzaga still deals a major blow to their preparations.

#ReadMore  PVL: Rondina powers Choco Mucho to romp of Farm Fresh

“Not having these main players when you try to mechanize your movements is a major step back to your work,” he said.

“I have a big surprise for everybody but trying it with only three days before such an important tournament is a gamble. That we will have to take away.”

After Sisaket, which is composed of former and current members of the Thailand national team, Foton Pilipinas will be testing the mettle of Bangkok Glass and Rungsit University in the preliminaries to determine their placing in the classification round.

“Of course, this is Thailand, the number 14 in the world,” he said. “Our main strategy is to slow them down and put them under pressure with quick combinations of attacks.”

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