The best male volleyball player in the country today fully wants to help the Men’s National Team on the road to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Back from Japan to get treatment on his right shoulder, Marck Espejo watched his former collegiate squad Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles clash with arch-rivals National University Bulldogs.
The five-time UAAP MVP was fresh from a stint with the Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler in the V-Premiere League. He says that his experience there has helped him grow immensely as a player.
“Sobrang laking experience niya para sa akin. ‘Yung mga nakakalaro ko ina-idolize ko lang noong bata ako. Ngayon, nakakalaro ko na sila,” said Espejo, adding that he hopes his and the Santiago sisters’ stints in Japan open the door for other Filipino players.
“Hindi naman para sa akin ‘to. Nakikita ko rin na, dahil din kila Jaja at Dindin, nakikita rin doon na pwede rin kuhanan ng import ang Pilipinas.”
Oita finished with a 4-23 record, good for ninth in the league. One of their season highlights, however, prominently featured Espejo. He topped off 33 points in five sets to guide Oita to their first win against J-Tech.
Still, Espejo admits that he needed time to adjust to the Japanese style of play.
“‘Yung playing style nila sa Japan, sobrang iba talaga from defense pattern and ‘yung iba nilang pattern. Mahirap talaga, pero masaya namin.
“Noong start, hirap ako with communication. Kailangan talaga mag-adjust para sa kanila. Natuto din ako ng kaunting Japanese. Ngayon, nakakapag-usap na kami ng kaunti,” the resident of Marikina City shared.
Espejo will return to Japan on April 1 to play in another tournament with his team. He’ll return on the second week of May. From there, he’s fully committed to the National Team.
“Kinausap na ako ni coach noong naga-arrange palang ng National Team. Sinasabihan niya ako ng mga nangyayari,” he said.
“Masaya ako na binigyan ako ng slot. Pagbalik ko, full commitment na ako sa National Team.”
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