After sweeping the final round, Kobe Shinwa Women’s University emerged as co-champion in the Belo Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference late Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
It is the highest accomplishment of a foreign squad after the junior national team of Thailand succumbed to RC Cola-Army in a thrilling finals showdown last year.
Kobe Shinwa head coach Kiyokazu Yamamoto said they would surely treasure the experience as they return home to Tokyo Sunday morning.
[quote]“We had a very precious experience in this tournament and throughout our stay. We learned a lot from it.”[/quote]
It was the first trip out of the country by the Japanese collegiate powerhouse as they prepare for the Kansai Area University Volleyball League.
And it was all worth it.
These Japanese have captured the hearts of Filipino volleyball fans.
Everybody was stunned when they flawlessly executed quick plays, smooth defensive pattern and discipline every games.
They also introduced a new dance craze when they when they were caught happily dancing in celebration of every point throughout their three outings.
But little did we know, they love us more than we do.
Yamamoto shared that they adored the hospitality of the Filipinos including its solid support to the sport.
[quote]”We really enjoy it here. People around us are very kind to us. We really like the warm welcome. We went out to see the towns and the towns are very active. We love that.”[/quote]
He added that watching some fans from the bench cheering for them fired up the young and developing Japanese.
[quote]”We rarely have an audience like these fans so we really enjoy watching them from the bench.”[/quote]
That’s Asian love.
When Kobe Shinwa arrived in the country, its main purpose was to learn on how to deal with the level of action.
They did not expect anything more than that — not even sweeping their three outings against the local teams.
[quote]”We did not expect that much (entering the tournament). We just aimed at how we can handle the offensively skillful Filipino players and went on from there.”[/quote]
Yamamoto said such learning experience brought out the best from his wards as the locals tested their power and grit.
[quote]”Chihiro Fujiwara surprised me with the way she led her team also Mariko Fujiwara because she did an outstanding job in all of the games.”
“Playing against these Filipino players who are very good in offense is going to be a good experience for us to take back.”[/quote]
When asked if Kobe Shinwa would return for another set of competitive volleyball action, Yamamoto didn’t twice.
He flashed a smile.
It was full of warmth, full of sincerity.
[quote]”It would be an honor to return to the Superliga. If given the chance, we will return.”[/quote]