Aaron Velez believes his return as head coach of Chery Tiggo for the coming Premier Volleyball League season will give him an opportunity to redeem himself after a humbling experience the last time.
Expectations were high following the Crossovers’ 2021 Open Conference title conquest over no less than the fancied Creamline Cool Smashers but Velez failed to replicate the success of their Laoag bubble championship run the following season-opening tournament.
He was then replaced by Clarence Esteban as bench tactician and was assigned as Chery Tiggo’s team manager.
Now back as the Crossovers’ mentor, Velez vows to rebound not just for himself but for the club.
“I’m excited and at the same time nervous. For me it’s another (chance) to bounce back and redeem myself from all the learning experience I had in the 2022 (Open Conference),” Velez said in Filipino.
Velez formally took the wheel last Monday as Esteban moved as his deputy for the All-Filipino Conference set to unwrap on 4 February.
“There’s a lot of adjustment for me because aside from being the team’s coach at the same time I’m still the team manager. I have two positions,” Velez said.
“Second, the things I learned and experienced last year I would like to say that I’m being haunted by the ghost of my past. Something I have to fight,” he added.
“But I could happily say that I’m working on it with the team’s help. I’m confident I could accomplish the job. I don’t want to disappoint the management and to return the trust and faith they have given me.”
However, Velez won’t not have the luxury of having the twin towers sisters Dindin Santiago-Manabat and Jaja Santiago this time around.
Manabat left the club after six years of service to join Akari while Santiago is currently playing in the Japan V.League.
Chery Tiggo would also need to adjust with Velez’s system and establish connection and chemistry with new players coming in led by Ponggay Gaston, Seth Rodriguez and Bingle Landicho.
Holdovers are Reinforced Conference Most Valuable Player Mylene Paat, Cza Carandang, EJ Laure, Shaya Adorador, Roselle Baliton and Buding Duremdes.
Velez will face a big test in his return stint with the Crossovers taking on Reinforced Conference runner-up Cignal on 7 February at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.