MANILA, Philippines — Taka Minowa remains patient with the progress of the Nxled Chameleons as the Japanese coach arrived two weeks before the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) All-Filipino Conference opener on Sunday.
Coaching in the Philippines — the home country of his wife and volleyball star Jaja Santiago — for the first time, Minowa admitted that he is facing a tall order when Nxled kicks off its maiden PVL campaign against Gerflor at Smart Araneta Coliseum
“Actually, we only just had a short time to prepare. But I’m trying to share my knowledge and experience. Take it one step at a time. We’re focused on improving because we’re a new team and we only just one week with my program,” said the first-time PVL coach. “It’s kind of difficult to focus on winning. The players are still trying to adjust to my system.”
Nxled coach Taka Minowa on his first PVL stint. #PVL2023
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Wednesday, October 11, 2023
With limited preparation, Minowa is focusing on instilling his system in Nxled, mostly composed of former Akari players Chiara Permentilla, Lycha Ebon, Jho Maraguinot, Krich Macaslang, Camille Victoria, Dani Ravena, and Rachel Jorvina.
“Maybe in this competition, we’re focused on trying to improve one point, one set at a time more than the (goal of) winning,” said the Japanese coach, who has been serving as assistant for his country’s women’s volleyball team since last year.
Minowa stressed that he also needs to adapt to Philippine volleyball as he will be coaching in the country for the first time.
“I have experience working with a Brazilian coach, a USA head coach. I’m the one adjusting to Filipino players. Pushing (my Japanese style) of coaching is not good. I need to adjust to Filipino, especially Nxled players,” said the Chameleons coach, who will also handle newcomers Kamille Cal, Jannine Navarro, May Luna, Maji Mangulabnan, Judith Abil, and Lia Pelaga.
Japan style of discipline
Ravena, the Nxled libero, said her team is embracing the learnings from Minowa, hoping to adapt the discipline instilled by the Japanese coach.
“I think it’s very natural for a new team to have difficulties adjusting especially from Taka. As he always tells us, it’s about progression and not perfection. And that’s something that we really try to take in every day and in every training,” Ravena told reporters. “We’re just blessed to have him as a coach and have that international experience and bring it to the PVL. We take it day-by-day.”
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“Definitely, one of the biggest learnings is the discipline. The discipline of a Japanese coach is different. We know that we’re a young team and that is something that will help us grow not just in Nxled but also our growth as individual players beyond volleyball. It’s not all about sports at the end of the day your character and attitude as a player really matters because it’s also what you bring outside the volleyball court,” she added.
As Nxled debuts against the new-look Gerflor on Sunday, Minowa is focused on his team’s improvement, which he needs to observe every game.