PVL: Taka Minowa looks to learn more about Filipino culture in PH stint
MANILA, Philippines — Taka Minowa accepted the challenge to coach the new Premier Volleyball League team Nxled, not only because he believes that Filipino Spikers have the potential to excel in Asia but he also wants to learn the culture of his wife Jaja Santiago’s home country.
“I want to coach here and also I want to know Filipino culture. How Filipino players practice and how they are during the game. [To learn] more about the culture and also food. I want to learn everything [about the Filipino culture],” the first-time PVL coach told reporters. “I share my volleyball knowledge [to my team]. We just share the culture.”
The Japanese coach will be ushering in a new era when the Chameleons debut against the Gerflor Defenders in the PVL All-Filipino Conference on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Minowa said he also wants to contribute to the continuous rise of Philippine volleyball after seeing Santiago’s potential in Japan V.League when he handled the 6-foot-5 middle blocker with Ageo Medics as an assistant coach.
“I believe the Philippine volleyball team can be in the top 4 teams in Asia. They have potential just like Jaja, she’s taller than players in Thailand. I also like their body language, more aggressive. I like playing aggressive volleyball that’s why I came here,” said the Japanese women’s volleyball team assistant coach.
The 34-year-old Minowa, who will be the second active foreign coach in the aside from Akari’s Brazilian tactician Jorge Souza de Brito, said his wife Jaja gave him advice to be patient and be strong in coaching a newly-formed club before flying to Manila.
“This team is very young, I need to be strong. I must not be soft in teaching them I want to do that. But first, we need to improve. Right now I’m trying to look at what they need to improve on and what we need to do to improve,” said the Japanese coach. “We’re focused on sharing and hearing also what they think about it. I’m not just pushing my coaching but I also want to talk and hear from them.”
‘JAJA LOVES CHERY’
Minowa admitted that being away with the former PVL Most Valuable Player Santiago will be harder for his wife as she begins a new journey with her new team, JT Marvelous, in the 2023-24 V.League starting next week.
“Actually, it’s hard especially for her, not me. It’s harder for Jaja because she loves her family, that’s why I’m married to Jaja because she’s always taking care of me even though we’re far from each other,” the Nxled coach said.
When a reporter asked during the press conference if he will be recruiting Santiago to his team, Minowa said he’s not sure but he knows how his wife loves to play for her local club, Chery Tiggo, and he respects it.
“We’re not sure but for sure, she loves Chery [Tiggo] because Chery [has been] helping her,” said the Nxled coach, sharing laughter with his fellow coaches and players on Wednesday. “And Nxled is a new team. Even though she loves me so much, Jaja loves Chery, too.”
Santiago last played in the PVL in the 2021 bubble in Ilocos Norte, where she led the Crossovers to the first pro volleyball crown in the country.