KC Cruz/SI PH
4 September 2016

Italian coach Fabio Menta is making full use of his Foton’s height advantage, at least in the preliminary group opposite Hong Kong and Vietnam in the 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena.

Against Hong Kong’s Pocari Sweat, Menta paraded a combination of taller frontline and high-flying combo of players like 6-5 Jaja Santiago, American import Lindsay Stalzer and Jovy Gonzaga.

The three spiked their way to a combined 46 points out of their team’s total out as Foton put away the visitors in straight sets, 25-20, 5-14, 15-10 on Saturday (September 3) in the tournament’s opener at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

The towering Santiago attacked the net with impunity for 11 points even as she provided a protective wall, blocking most of the opponents’ offensive and four of them scoring in favor of the Pilipinas squad.

Menta even had the luxury of sitting out the other American import, Ariel Usher, for most part of the game and keeping her out of the prying eyes of Vietnam scouts.

“The only advantage we had really on the court was the height, so we needed to use the height and we did it,” said Menta.

The veteran international mentor will use the same weapon against Vietnam on Sunday (September 4) for Foton’s second outing in the club meet.

And Menta did his scouting already.

“I watched a couple of games of Vietnam. It used to be tough team to match up with as they can speed up the ball pretty well but they no longer have tall players in the team.Once again, the advantage we need to use will be the height of our team.,” said Menta, adding Foton is a team in progress.

“The players are just 18 days together and we have not yet reached our full potential.”

For now, the Pinay spikers can maximize their height advantage against smaller foes.

And if they advance through the next round, they will need more from their arsenal when they take on similarly tall teams like China, Japan, Kazakhstan and defending champion Thailand.