MANILA, Philippines – Being good at one thing does not necessarily equate to excelling in another, but don’t tell that to Tina Salak.
In her coaching debut for the FEU Lady Tamaraws, the legendary volleyball player quickly made her presence felt in the sidelines like any other veteran mentor, staying stern if her wards muck up plays, but also celebrating with them when they execute her game plans well.
Clearly, her presence made a stark difference for an FEU team once dead in the water to end UAAP Season 84, as the Lady Tamaraws snapped an 11-game losing streak with a gutsy four-set win against the UP Fighting Maroons to kick off Season 85.
No one was happier than Salak herself when the final buzzer sounded, as she let her emotions loose on the court and all the way to her postgame press conference, where she shared the same infectious energy to the media.
“I thought I wouldn’t sweat because it’s airconditioned, but I did because I was very intense, and I wanted to give my players that same intensity,” she joked in Filipino.
Turning serious, the two-time UAAP champion and one-time MVP continued, “But it’s not about me anymore, so let’s focus on my players. This is their time and I’m just here to guide them. I also want us to achieve and bring back FEU’s glory days, but maybe not now. It’s too soon to say, but we’re working.”
Salak certainly has no shortage of capable prospects in her arsenal to start the trek back to relevancy, as the likes of Jov Fernandez, Alyzz Devosora, and setter protege Tin Ubaldo all showed off in their respective season debuts.
With numerous young ladies now under her care, Salak shared that the pressure is on for her to unlock most, if not all of their full capabilities.
“Before, I was just thinking about myself on how I get conditioned to the game, but now I’m translating that experience to them,” she continued. “They have to follow even the little details so they can focus and enjoy their time as players.”
“Luckily for them, they are still playing. I’m not, so I want them to express themselves fully in how they want to play. The results will all be a part of the process. I just want them to enjoy the moment.”
It’s obviously too soon to tell whether or not Salak will find success as a coach the same way she did as a player. But if her debut is any indication of things to come, another magical chapter is already being written on the book of her storied career. – Rappler.com
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