By Jonash Dannug
After fulfilling his duties with Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler in Japan, five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo is now back and grinding with the country’s elite volleyball players on the road to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“Wala pa akong gaanong training dito sa Philippines, so pagdating ko dito, parang one week or two weeks na training tapos laro na kaagad,” the product of Ateneo said.
Espejo is currently suiting up for the now-3-0 Rebisco-Philippines in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference as part of the national team’s build-up for the upcoming SEA games this November.
The four-time Spikers’ Turf MVP recently tallied a volleyball triple-double with 26 points, 19 receptions, and 11 digs in their thrilling five-set victory over Philippine Navy last Tuesday.
Still, despite his remarkable outing, the three-time UAAP champion admits that he still needs to adjust to the Philippine style of play.
“Nag-aadjust pa rin [ako] kasi dito high ball ‘yung bola, hindi mabilis.
“Sa Japan kasi, as in speed talaga, mabilisan, tapos technique talaga yung tinuturo. And sa Japan may mga analyst so proper talaga yung ginagawa,” said Espejo, who also plays for the 2-0 Cignal HD Spikers.
The 22-year-old spiker believes that his experience overseas has helped him to grow tremendously as a player. And he vows to apply everything that he learned to aid the Philippines’ campaign.
“Yung Japan tournament ko, malaki yung natulong niya sa’kin bilang player and siyempre bilang isang tao, kasi tumira ako mag-isa, natuto ako yung tamang decisions,” Espejo explained.
“Sa paglalaro naman, dahil nakakalaban ko yung Olympians and yung malalakas na teams, yung mga sikat talaga… So ayon, nakikita ko yung mga ginagawa nila na hindi ginagawa dito, so yung iba ina-apply ko dito.”
Despite being one hundred percent mentally, Espejo is still not a hundred percent physically. He is still nursing his injury in his right shoulder.
“Ngayon, ‘pag trainings medyo nafe-feel ko pa din yung pain. Pero ‘pag game na, dahil may adrenaline, medyo nawawala yung sakit pero nandoon pa rin.” Espejo bared.
“Hindi pa rin-one hundred percent.”
When asked about what to expect from them, Espejo made a bold response.
“Ngayon, nakikita ko na as of now, ito yung pinakamalakas na team na ire-represent yung Philippines sa SEA Games.”