Athlete

An insight on Jia De Guzman’s unwavering commitment to Alas

Hours before the battle of the Alas Philippine National Team against the mighty Vietnam for the 2024 FIVB Challenger Cup, we were able to speak with the husband of Jia De Guzman (Team Captain of Alas), Miguel De Guzman. 

He gave us a glimpse of what it’s like for Jia to adjust living and playing in Japan to having no hesitations when the Alas brass came calling for her services.

De Guzman mentioned that moving to Japan was a fairly easy transition since they were already used to living apart because of the frequency of abroad trainings back in her collegiate days. 

“The adjustment was fairly easy because we were already living apart. We knew the demands of college athletes in the Philippines, they always have training camps abroad. Her stint with the Creamline Cool Smashers and the national team also had that,” said De Guzman outside the Rizal Memorial Coliseum before the festivities began. 

“They allowed me to visit her in her Japan stint and we were able to live together as a married couple,” added De Guzman. 

When asked what he thought was Jia’s biggest improvement playing for Denso in the Division 1 of the Japan V. League, Migs immediately had an answer as if he had been waiting for the question to be brought out. 

“I think the number one thing is discipline. In Japan, they train twice a day. She was there for nine months and all she had to do in that duration was eat, sleep and think volleyball. During her time there, she had the peace of mind to just focus on herself and how she can improve as a volleyball player,” said De Guzman.

Moving to a first-world country like Japan will always have its challenges. For Jia, it was going the extra mile to learn Japanese so that she would be able to communicate with her teammates what plays she wanted to run and then executing it to perfection.

“First three months there, she didn’t know how to communicate properly with her teammates. As a setter, one thing that’s very important is how you talk to everyone on the court. What she did was study Japanese so that she can motivate her teammates, run the plays, and make sure they are always on the same page,”  said De Guzman.

Coming off a championship in the V.League of Japan, one might think that should only be the main focus of a player playing in abroad in order to maintain her status with their teammates and ensuring that edge will not waver. However, It’s a different story for Jia. 

When the offer of possibly being the captain of the newly-formed Alas National Team was communicated to her, it would be safe to say that was the easiest decision she had to make in her stacked resume as a Filipino volleyball player. 

“Jia is always there to answer the call of the national team. We were in Japan wrapping up her stint there when we got the call from Sir Tony (Liao) and Sir Ricky (Palou). They explained the program that they want to run and the tournaments they want to participate in. Jia saw this a good opportunity to showcase her skills but also share with the younger generation the skills and techniques that she learned in Japan,” De Guzman concluded. 

Her dedication to making the Philippines a volleyball powerhouse once again is why she wants to impart her learnings to the budding young stars of the nation today. 

“All of her teammates are very receptive of her leadership. Everyone was humble, down to earth, and just wants to do their job on the court. There are no egos kahit alam mo na they are the biggest collegiate and professional athletes in the country today.” 

It cannot be helped as well that all eyes are on Jia De Guzman’s next adventure after having a successful stint in her first year in Japan.

“They still have a couple of tournaments abroad. Hopefully after that, when she’s ready to make a decision, she can share with me and let you guys know what it is.”

After a great conversation with Migs, I’m looking forward to how bright this Alas team can shine under the leadership of their captain, Jia Morado De Guzman.

Full video to our interview with Migs is just below: 

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