OKAYAMA CITY, Japan — I have been to a lot of important matches over the course of my volleyball career.
But playing for flag and country is always the most important.
We left Manila for Japan last Sunday to train and prepare for the Asian Games set later this month in Indonesia.
This is my second time to train in Japan. So, I already have a little idea on what to expect.
When we were here last year, our Japanese hosts were very hospitable to the Filipino crew.
Aside from taking care of everything from hotel to food and transportation, they also allowed us to train with their elite team, the Okayama Seagulls.
The Seagulls were very friendly. They didn’t hesitate to train and guide us. They even personally demonstrated the correct stance, positioning and how things are being done. No wonder, they are very successful.
But this team is different from that of last year.
That’s why this training camp is also our opportunity to bond, get to know each other and improve our chemistry inside and outside the court.
Personally, I am very honored to be part of this team again.
I know a lot of players are very eager to play for the country. I’m very thankful to be given this golden opportunity once again.
Playing for the country gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. We may come from different teams in college and in the club level, but when we start wearing the Philippine flag on our chest, everybody unites to cheer us on.
I’m just hopeful that we can adapt to the techniques and Japanese-style of volleyball.
That’s why we have to pay special attention on what they teach since we know that they are very passionate and disciplined when it comes to volleyball.
We also have to work double time to improve on our chemistry because it’s something that cannot be achieved overnight. We have to work hard to gain it, knowing that this program will run for the next two years or so.
It’s good that we are finally back in the Asian Games after 36 long years. We’re looking forward to play with the best teams like China, Japan and South Korea not only to win but to gain experience and slowly put the Philippines back on the map of international volleyball.
It’s not going to be easy but we will try our best to give them a very good fight.
We’re doing this not just for ourselves, for our family and friends.
We’re doing this for flag and country.