Kurashiki Ablaze savors PVL experience, ‘100 percent’ sure of returning if invited again – rezal404

Kurashiki Ablaze PVL

Kurashiki Ablaze celebrate winning the PVL Invitational Conference title. MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — After a successful stint in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Invitational Conference, the Kurashiki Ablaze promised to come back and defend their title if they get another invitation from league president Ricky Palou.

Kurashiki displayed Japan’s world-class volleyball talent as the third division squad withstood Creamline, the star-studded and most successful local club in the country, in a five-set thriller, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 15-13, on Sunday in front of 8,223 fans at Philsports Arena.

“Ricky [Palou] is my bestfriend. If he will invite us, 100 percent we will come back,” said Kurashiki coach Hideo Suzuki through an interpreter. “We’re very happy and very appreciative of Ricky [Palou] because he invited us to this conference. Thank you very much.”

Palou, who was watching Kurashiki’s post-championship interview, answered the Japanese coach with a smile.

Suzuki, who steered the Ablaze’s perfect six-game sweep, bared that he is also open to training Filipino players.

“The Filipino teams are good in offense. We’re planning to strengthen the relationship with Japan volleyball and Philippine volleyball. I plan to get a Filipino player and train with our team and then bring her back to the Philippines. So if there are interested players, please inquire to our team,” said Suzuki, whose team also relished playing at a huge venue while being adored by Filipino fans.

Kurashiki Ablaze PVL

Kurashiki Ablaze celebrate after claiming the PVL Invitational Conference crown. MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Championship game hero Asaka Tamaru and Finals MVP Kyoka Ohshima marveled at the skills and attitude of the Filipino players.

“I noticed that the Filipino players are still smiling even if they are in a bad situation in the game. Because in our team, when we’re down, sometimes we frown. Now, we already learned the Filipino style to keep smiling in the game,” said Tamaru.

“The Filipinos have a strong physique and tall blockers. We also envy the strong support of the fans, who always fill up the venue,” said Ohshima.

Kurashiki flew back to Japan on Monday right after winning the PVL championship as it shifts its focus to its Division 3 league in November.

But the Ablaze take home their experience of facing PVL teams and an immersion outreach in Tondo a day before the title game.


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