VOLLEYBALL star Marck Espejo hopes to make a good impression for Filipino athletes as he takes his skills to Japan for the Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler in the second-tier V1 League.
After his stint with Cignal in the Premier Volleyball League, where they finished runner-up to Air Force, Espejo is set to fly to Japan late August to prepare for the tournament on October.
Although the former Ateneo star will only be playing for a club team and not carry the national team, he wants to represent the Philippines and maybe open doors of opportunities for others as well.
“Dadalhin ko ‘yung sarli ko pero Philippines na rin ito eh parang kailangan kong masabi na ‘yung Philippines hindi nagpapahuli sa volleyball,” said Espejo, who has five UAAP MVP awards to his name.
“And hopefully itong pagpunta ko sa Japan sana may iba rin na makuha na ma-inspire and i-push ang sarili nila na after ng UAAP or PVL mayroon din palang international level, na ako ang maging gauge nila (international coaches) na papakita ko sa kanila na kaya rin nila (ibang local players),” he added.
Meanwhile, Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro believes that other local players are also capable of making it to the international level.
“Sabi nga ng ibang Japanese coaches this might be the start kasi kapag nakakita sila ng ganoong level, ‘yung mga tao dito magpu-push na maabot din si Marck,” he said.
“Marami eh, si Bryan Bagunas pwede ‘yan, si John Vic (de Guzman), si (Ranran) Abdilla, si Mark Alfafara pwede rin ‘yan,” he added.
Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler coach Takashi Ogawa came to the country in May to personally welcome Espejo to the team, while also watching a couple of volleyball matches.