UP coach was key in Espejo's journey to Japan
Paul Lintag on May 27, 2018 06:02 PM
Godfrey Okumu, the mentor of the UP Women's Volleyball Team, is actually the one that recommended Marck Espejo to Oita Miyoshi head coach Takashi Ogawa.
After a dominating UAAP stint, no one would have been surprised if Marck Espejo decided to take his talents outside the Philippines.
Well that time is coming as the five-time UAAP Most Valuable Player is officially moving to Japan to play for Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler.
The official announcement and contract signing went down Sunday and Espejo is now a White Eagle, ready to spread his wings in the Land of the Rising Sun.
No one would have been surprised if Espejo took his talents elsewhere.
What's surprising though is the fact that one of the bridges that helped Espejo in his journey to Japan is actually an opposing head coach.
Godfrey Okumu, the mentor of the UP Women's Volleyball Team, is actually the one that recommended Espejo to Oita Miyoshi head coach Takashi Ogawa.
Okumu apparently worked with Miyoshi for three years.
"He [Okumu] said there's a good player in the Philippines," coach Takashi said.
At that time, Oita Miyoshi was already looking for Asian imports to beef up its squad and after scouting Espejo, everything worked out for both sides.
Before UAAP Season 80, Espejo already travelled to Japan last December to do workouts. Oita Miyoshi's staff also quietyly made trips to the Philippines to see Espejo in action for the Blue Eagles.
"Coach Okumu of UP used to work with them [Oita Miyoshi," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.
"When coach Okumu came here and timing na they [Miyoshi] were looking for Asian players, coach Okumu recommended one player in the Philippines [Espejo], nandito raw yung kailangan nila," he added.
According to Almadro, Espejo already got offers from Thailand last year but things didn't proceed because the star spiker already had one more season with Ateneo.
It just so happened that Espejo also decided to pursue a career in Japan.
"Many club teams were asking for Marck's services in Thailand. But siguro he chose Japan, mas mahirap dun pero he chose it. We let him decide," Almadro said.
"Syempre para mas lalo pa daw siya ma-push," he added.
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