A noted Japanese mentor will be at the helm when the Philippine Superliga All-Star team competes in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship at the SM Mall of Asia Arena from October 18 to 23.
Shun Takahashi, an assistant coach of the Japan national seniors women’s team, was formally appointed as head coach of the squad that will see action against the world’s best club teams from Italy, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, Switzerland and Thailand in a week-long volleyball festival.
Known as a strict drillmaster, the 26-year-old Takahashi played for FC Tokyo in the Japan Premier League for three years before joining the Red Star club of Serbia.
He was appointed as assistant to Masayoshi Manabe in the Japanese national seniors women’s team last April with the primary responsibility of running the drills, scrimmages, and training as well as helping in plotting the tactics.
Takahashi will arrive on Wednesday, September 14, and will immediately buckle down to work as he opens the training camp with the team composed of seven Filipino and seven foreign players.
“We tapped a Japanese coach because we know the level of their training and their system,” said PSL president Ramon “Tats” Suzara.
“As you know, Japan finished bronze in the London Olympics and remains one of the elite teams in Asia. I’m sure our players and coaches will learn a lot from him.”
Also helping Suzara make the announcement was Eventcourt CEO Peter Bratschi, the co-organizer of the prestigious world-class tournament.
Ramil de Jesus of F2 Logistics and Sammy Acaylar of Cignal will serve as assistant coaches, while Kungfu Reyes of RC Cola-Army and Benson Bocboc of F2 Logistics will serve as trainers.
Meanwhile, George Pascua of Petron and Francis Vicente of Generika will be team statisticians, while the training staff will be composed of Michael Carino of Cignal, Ian Fernandez of Foton, Noel Orcollo of F2 Logistics, and Tina Salak of RC Cola-Army.
Dr. Raul Alcantara will be the team doctor.
“This is a national endeavor so might as well seek the support of the best coaches in the country today,” said Suzara, who lauded local coaches for their unity and all-out support to the program.
“I’m glad that our coaches responded to the call. This is a major step towards the development of Philippine volleyball.”
The hiring of Takahashi is just the first among the many projects in the pipeline between the Philippines and Japan.
Suzara revealed that by next year, some PSL teams will be sent to Japan to train with elite clubs Hisamitsu Springs and NEC Red Rockets, who recently bulldozed Foton Pilipinas in the ongoing 2016 AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan City.
“The PSL is trying to have good relationship with Japanese club teams,” he said. “We are now starting to talk to teams like Hisamitsu (Springs) and NEC Red Rockets about the possibility of sending some PSL teams there for training by next year.”