MANILA, Philippines — Dindin Santiago-Manabat lauded the dedication and professionalism of his brother-in-law Taka Minowa, who’s now overseeing the coaching of the Akari after being appointed because the director of volleyball operations for the Chargers and Nxled Chameleons within the 2024 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) season.
Manabat has began working with the husband of her youthful sister, Jaja Santiago, because the Japanese coach has been sharing his inputs to the coaching of the Chargers, who’ve but to announce their interim coach following the resignation of Brazilian mentor Jorge Souza de Brito.
“Parang walang brother-in-law e. Kinakausap niya ako if could kailangan siya i-correct sa akin, if could problema sa mga galaw ko i-co-correct niya. Nilu-look up ko siya as a coach talaga, pag nasa court docket hindi ko siya nakikita na brother-in-law ko siya,” mentioned Manabat after Akari’s follow at FilOil EcoOil Centre on Friday. “Kasi ako arms up ako sa lahat ng Japanese coach siyempre sa kanya.”
(He doesn’t give me any particular remedy though he’s my brother-in-law. He talks to me when he must right me or I’m doing one thing incorrect he corrects me. I actually look as much as him as a coach. I don’t see him as my brother-in-law. I’m in awe of all Japanese coaches and naturally him.)
Manabat, who performed in Japan V.League for Toray Arrows and Kurobe Aquafairies in 2018 and 2019, respectively, mentioned the Chargers are studying quite a bit from Minowa as he has been making volleyball simpler and less complicated for the group.
“Really, sobrang dami [ko pang natututunan kasi napapasimple niya yung galaw and yung explanation napapaeasy niya na yun,” she said. “So far, ok naman yung tinetraining namin. Si coach Taka is malaking tulong para sa amin… Wala na siyang ibang daan daan, kung ano yung inexplain niya napapasimple niya na lahat mapapa-oo niya.”
(Actually, I’ve been learning a lot from him because he makes things simpler and makes it easier when he explains it. So far, our training has been good. Coach Taka is a big help to us. He just makes things easier for us.)
Minowa, who has been observing Akari’s training for the past two weeks, believes the Chargers have the potential to rise in the PVL this season. That’s why he has been sharing the points of improvement he can share with the team while juggling his duties as director and coach for Nxled.
“If someone compares Akari and Nxled, it’s totally different. Akari has a lot of potential so I’m just observing. If I’m seeing some wrong I just try to fix and I just try to talk with their players because I need to hear what is the program in Akari and what we need to improve as a team,” Minowa said.
The 30-year-old Manabat, who transferred to Akari last year after ending her seven-year stint with Chery Tiggo, is grateful to have fellow veteran and champion players on her side as Grethcel Soltones joined the Chargers, while former Creamline middle blocker Ced Domingo is set to join the team after her stint in Thailand with Nakhon Ratchasima — Manabat’s former team.
“Siguro nabawasan yung pressure kasi alam mo sa sarili mo na may backup ka like mga veteran na rin. May mga bata pero alam namin na may matutunan pa kami sa isa’t isa yun nga si Gretch alam naman natin na galing champion team, si Ced Domingo galing champion team may matututunan at matututunan talaga kami,” she said.
(I guess it eases up the pressure knowing there are other veterans on our team. We have young players as well, we have a lot to learn from each other and Gretch and Ced are both coming from champion teams so we’re going to learn a lot from one another.)
The 6-foot-2 spiker hopes to live up to the expectations this season after achieving their best finish in the second All-Filipino Conference with a 5-6 record.
“Sana ma-run through lang namin yung lahat ng itinuturo sa amin and lahat ng experiences namin last conference. Maipasok namin yung mga good this time, ang kulang lang naman namin is jelling kasi every conference may pumapasok. Ngayon siguro yung expectation ko is mapulido namin yung galaw namin na parang tinginan pa lang alam na yung gagawin,” Manabat said.
(I hope we’re able to apply everything taught to us and all the experiences from last conference. We lack jelling before because every conference we have players coming in. But now, I expect us to know how each player moves on the court.)