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Japanese coach Hideo Suzuki is lending a helping hand to Philippine volleyball. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PVL

Kurashiki Ablaze head coach Hideo Suzuki plans to further strengthen the club’s ties with Philippine volleyball by inviting interested teams and players to train with them in Japan.

The Japanese guest team mentor admired the skills of Filipino players that the Ablaze faced during their unbeaten title run in the Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference.

“The Filipino teams that we played against are really great on offense,” Suzuki said.

But local clubs still have a lot to work on, especially on overall floor defense and disciplined volleyball. Suzuki wants to offer an opportunity for them to improve on that by adopting the Japanese style of play.

Invited by league organizer Sports Vision through the efforts of its president Ricky Palou to play in the mid-season tournament, Suzuki said that he wants to return the favor by opening their doors for those who want to train with them.

“I plan to build a stronger relationship between Japan and Philippine volleyball,” the Japan V.League Division III club tactician said.

“My plan is to invite Filipino players to train with our team.”

“Anyone interested to inquire, just contact me.”

Kurashiki went back to Japan on Monday less than 24 hours following its thrilling, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 15-13, victory over dethroned Creamline in the winner-take-all gold medal showdown at the jampacked Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The Ablaze won all of its six matches since arriving two weeks ago to play in the round-robin semifinals.

Japan has been a top destination for training camps by Filipino volleyball squads.

In fact, the Philippine men’s and women’s national teams always include Japan in their training calendar to prepare for major international events.

Even University Athletic Association of the Philippines squads travel to the Asian volleyball powerhouse to prime up for the collegiate season.

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