TOKYO — It feels good to be back in Japan for Marck Espejo.
Espejo played as an import for Oita Miyoshi in the Japan Premier League last season, where he turned heads and showcased his volleyball skills before a shoulder injury slowed him down.
He returns as part of the Philippine men’s volleyball team, confident that the experience that they will gain in this 16-day training camp will go a long way in their preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“Masaya kasi huling naglaro ako dito sa Japan injured ako so hindi ko na-maximize yung paglalaro ko rito, tapos ngayon nakapaglaro ako with the national team naman,” said the five-time UAAP MVP out of Ateneo.
"Malaking bagay din yun kasi preparation rin to for SEA Games and sana makilala pa namin yung isa't isa and mag-jell pa.”
The Filipino Spikers lost to Division 2 squad Saitama Azalea, 20-25, 23-25, 23-25, last Thursday evening at Ejimi Gym in a game where Espejo admitted they were weighed down by errors and chemistry issues.
“Maraming errors, parang naglaro kami na hindi namin kilala yung isa’t isa. First time namin makalaban ng Japanese team, iba kasi yung sistema ng Japan so ayun nabigla siguro kami sa umpisa, dami naming errors,” Espejo said.
"Siguro kahit natalo kami may natutunan naman kami sana madala namin sa ibang araw at ibang tune-up games.”
The Nationals are bracing for their second straight tune-up game against Tsukuba United on Friday at the Matsushiro junior high school — another two-hour travel from Hotel Route-Inn Sagamihara.