Coach Tina Salak was one of the exciting additions to the Akari Chargers in the previous offseason.

Fans were both thrilled and surprised by Salak’s return to the Philippines after abruptly stepping down as the head coach of the FEU Women’s Volleyball Team post-UAAP Season 85, where she transformed the Lady Tams into dark-horse contenders.

Things might have turned out unexpectedly, but Salak revealed that she was supposed to join Akari sooner rather than later — back when the former head coach, Jorge Souza de Brito, was still in charge.

“It was really Coach Jorge’s idea. He wanted me as one of his assistants. I was too excited back then. I wanted to come back to coach [in the pros] again but unfortunately I went to US that time, [so it] didn’t push thru,” Salak bared.

But if it’s meant to happen, it will happen.

After months of being in the US, Salak answered her calling and returned to the country to help Akari reach new heights this season.

“[It’s] nice to be back honestly. It’s been a while kasi. It’s a different ball game ngayon. It helped [that I] learned also. I enjoyed the team. Every time I go to training, excited ako and [I was] always looking forward [to it].”

As an accomplished former setter herself, Salak knew that she was brought in to guide the playmakers of the team. However, that was not all. Akari’s management saw her ability to develop players and communicate effectively with them.

“Definitely sa setters,” Salak replied when asked about her contribution to Akari. “As a coach, we all wanted to help them grow, develop and encourage. I was also very grateful to the management that they see something in me na could help the team,” she added.

With all the championships and individual awards she won, along with the experience and knowledge she gained, Salak is glad to be able to give back to the players today.

“Coaching and playing alongside with the players, I would say [is] the best part of the job. May chance din to bond on the side [and] getting to know them personally.”

All the hard work that Salak and the whole team might not have come into fruition yet, but they have definitely laid down a solid foundation for future success.

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