The Golden Boy

The Philippine Superliga (PSL) would put special premium on discipline when its All-Star team competes in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena from Oct. 18 to 23.

This after the league tapped a young, but well-experienced, Japanese mentor to guide the squad in the prestigious competition where the world’s best team from Turkey, Brazil, Thailand, Switzerland, Italy and Japan will see action in a week-long volleyball festival.

Shun Takahashi, the assistant coach of Japan seniors women’s team, was appointed as head coach in a bid to polish the discipline of Filipino players — not only inside the court — but outside the court as well.

Takahashi will be bringing in a very impressive resume.

Aside from being only 26 years old, the Japanese guru played for FC Tokyo in the Japan Premier League for 3 years before packing his bags for Belgrade where he competed for the Red Star club of Serbia.

He was appointed as deputy of Masayoshi Manabe in the Japanese seniors women’s side last April.

Takahashi will arrive on Sept. 14 and will immediately buckle down to work as he opens the training camp with the Filipino stalwarts like Rachel Anne Daquis, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Jen Reyes, Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, Frances Molina and Jaja Santiago.

He will be assisted by Filipino coaches Ramil de Jesus of F2 Logistics and Sammy Acaylar of Cignal while Kungfu Reyes of RC Cola-Army and Benson Bocboc will serve as trainers.

George Pascua of Petron and Francis Vicente of Generika will act as team statisticians while the training staff will be composed of Michael Carino of Cignal, Ian Fernandez of Foton, Noel Orcollo of F2 Logistic and Tina Salak of RC Cola-Army.

The seven foreign players will also arrive next week and the team will be quartered for a month to develop its chemistry.

PSL president Ramon Suzara said the Japanese’s primary responsibility is to instill discipline to the Filipino players as well as transfer the impressive Japanese technology to local coaches.

[quote]We tapped a Japanese coach because we know the level of their training and their system.

As you know, Japan finished bronze in the London Olympics and it remains to be a top team in Asia.[/quote]

Vicente told local players that they have to put their best foot forward because Takahashi is no ordinary mentor coming from a very disciplined culture.

[quote]This Japanese coach is very young. He is still idealistic.

“Expect him to be very strict and disciplined. You just can’t horse around, use your cellphone or be late. You have to bring out your best.[/quote]

Suzara added that the hiring of Takahashi will kick off the relationship between Philippines and Japan.

In fact, PSL clubs are scheduled to open a training camp in Tokyo with either Hisamitsu Springs or NEC Red Rockets, which clobbered Foton Pilipinas in straight sets in the ongoing AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship.

[quote]PSL is trying to have a good relationship with Japan club teams. We are starting to talk to teams like Hisamitsu and I had a good meeting with NEC about the possibility of sending PSL clubs there to train.[/quote]

With all these exciting developments, Takahashi will not be treated just like a mere coach.

He will be treated like a golden boy, somebody who will finally bring out the brilliance out of Filipino players.