April 14, 2024

Taka Minowa comes clean on Jaja Santiago's role in PVL move, life as Nxled coach

Taka Minowa comes clean on Jaja Santiago

It turns out Jaja Santiago did have a hand in her husband Taka Minowa's move to become a head coach in the Philippines. The Nxled Chameleons' chief tactician confirmed it himself in One PH's Power and Play on Saturday.

Minowa, the former assistant coach of the Japan V.League squad Saitama Ageo Medics and a member of the Japan staff that competed in the 2022 AVC Cup for Women, had just returned to his home country after a stint in China. 

"Jaja asked (me) to head coach in the Philippines," Minowa recounted to host Noli Eala. "That is already in my mind. I (was) decided to go to the Philippines."

He was also curious about the volleyball style of his wife's home country, despite the Philippines' struggle to pick up titles in international competitions such as the Asian Games.

"I want to know Philippine culture," he said. "Because I still believe in a lot of (the players') potential."

And, apparently, he quite liked what he saw in training with the young Chameleons.

"I like their body language, how they play inside the court. In Japan, they are quiet. But in the Philippines, all the teams are shouting. Even in practice, they laugh," Minowa observed.

"I think the biggest shocker for him is how loud we were," team captain Dani Ravena added. "Professionals kami, but we also enjoy training. It's different when you go to training. We're on the younger side, makukulit kami."

"That's the biggest problem and biggest headache (for him). We're very young, we tend to lose focus easily, but we have ates to hold us down," she added.

Coach Taka, apparently, is especially entertained by Judith Abil, who has made her PVL comeback

"Sobrang nakakatawa siya tignan, sumasabay sa kakulitan nina Ate Judith," Ravena shared about Minowa's lighthearted interactions with the jolly Abil.

"Sinabihan niya si Ate Judith na pwede siyang sumayaw," Lycha Ebon added.


Nxled won its first assignment in the PVL Second All-Filipino with a sweep of the Gerflor Defenders on opening day.

Minowa, though, is not reading too much into the win. In fact, he says he wants to fix the Chameleons' attitude when they're losing a set or a match.

"A lot of teams, sometimes they lose, they don't have the motivation and fighting spirit. I want to keep telling players, even though we lose, we need to show our fighting spirit at the end of the game," he said

The squad's modest goal for their maiden conference is to finish at the top six, but Coach Taka says the most important thing is to give players who may not have had much time on the court before to have confidence.

"It's just one game, but we need to feel this is the championship," he said. "Maybe not in this competition, maybe in the next, but we need to think how we can be champions."


Nxled will get quite a challenge next Tuesday, October 24, when they take on the win-hungry F2 Logistics Cargo Movers at 2 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

It will be aired on One Sports, One Sports+, and the Pilipinas Live app.