MANILA, Philippines — Far Eastern University coach Tina Salak takes on her former high school player Angel Canino for the first time when her young team battles the unbeaten La Salle squad in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at Philsports Arena.
FEU, which recently took down Ateneo in five sets for a 2-2 record, tests the mettle of the remaining unscathed team La Salle (4-0) at 12 noon.
Salak, who is establishing a new system and culture in the rebuilding Lady Tamaraws, will be trying to stop La Salle’s sensational rookie Canino, whom she handled in high school and helped win the UAAP Season 81 Girls’ MVP along with a championship for De La Salle-Zobel by ending Nazareth School’s four-year reign.
The FEU coach said Canino has grown a lot under coach Ramil De Jesus’ system as the rookie has emerged as the No.2 scorer in the league with a total of 64 points and a league-best 40% spiking efficiency after four games.
“She has improved a lot from high school to now under coach Ramil. So, I think the things that I’m familiar with about her game, she has already developed it. We have to stop her,” said Salak in Filipino.
Salak, who also handled former Zobel standouts Justine Jazareno and Alleiah Malaluan, said that La Salle is not all about Canino as they also have to be wary of do-it-all spiker Jolina Dela Cruz, Leila Cruz, and tall middle blockers Thea Gagate and Fifi Sharma.
“La Salle is a formidable team. I have high respect for La Salle,” she said. “It’s not just about Angel. We have to focus on their whole team. They have lethal weapons.”
The new FEU coach admitted facing La Salle is like a David and Goliath match but she stressed to her wards bannered by Jovelyn Fernandez, Alyzza Devosora, Chenie Tagaod, Mitzi Panangin, Tin Ubaldo, and libero Marga Encarnacion that they can beat any team.
“They are tall. We’re like David and Goliath,” Salak said. “I have to show my team that we can beat them. What I did with Zobel before, now I’m doing this as an FEU coach. Definitely, they have a weakness. We will find a way [to beat them].”
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