Jia De Guzman joins Denso Airybees in Japan V. League Women's Division 1
Posted: 2023-Sep-08 11.16.38 UTC+0800
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Filipino volleyball fans will see another Filipina testing herself in a foreign land.
Jia Morado-De Guzman became the fifth Filipino to play in Japan's V. League after signing for Division 1 team Denso Airybees on Thursday, September 7, the Japanese club confirmed on its website.
De Guzman will team up with another acquisition in Brazil's Rosamaria Montibeller.
"Thank you for your warm support for Denso Airybees. We would like to inform you that it has been decided that Rosamaria Montibeller and Julia Melissa Morado will join the team," the English translation of the announcement read.
The decorated Ateneo de Manila University standout will follow the footsteps of Jaja Santiago, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Marck Espejo, and Bryan Bagunas as the newest Filipino reinforcement to suit up in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Santiago played for Ageo Medics in 2018-2023 and helped the Saitama-based squad nab the 2019-2020 V. League 1 bronze and the 2020-2021 V. Cup title before signing for JT Marvelous, while Manabat suited up for Toray Arrows (2018-2019) and Kurobe AquaFairies (2019-2020).
Moreover, Espejo was drafted as the third overall pick by defending three-peat champion Incheon Korean Air Jumbos in Korean V. League (KVL) last April, while reigning Chinese Taipei's Top Volleyball League (TVL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Bagunas will return for Winstreak to defend their crown.
Dream came true for De Guzman to go overseas after going undrafted in the KVL for Asian players, with former Petro Gazz middle blocker MJ Phillips as the lone Filipina chosen by Gwangju AI Peppers.
F2 Logistics' Iris Tolenada will also have a trip to South Korea as a replacement Asian import for GX Caltex Seoul KIXX.
Meanwhile, the Creamline Cool Smashers expressed their support to the decorated playmaker, who helped them win six Premier Volleyball League (PVL) titles and finished silver medalist thrice and bronze winner twice from 2017-2023.
"Sa nag-iisang JIA, as you begin a new chapter in Japan, we send you love and good vibes," CCS said in the caption of their Instagram post.
"We are always proud of you, and will always have your back, Ate Jia! Looking forward to seeing your Pambansang Good Vibe moves on the court!" the post added.
Morado and the Cool Smashers settled for a silver medal in the 2023 PVL Invitational Conference.
Morado's prolific career in PH volleyball scene
Before her illustrious career at ADMU, Morado had already shown what she could offer at the high school level.
The 28-year-old Morado was named 2012 Palarong Pambansa and 2013 Shakey's Girls Volleyball League Best Setter.
During her ADMU days, she, alongside The Phenom Alyssa Valdez, gave the Lady Eagles its maiden University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) crown in Season 76 (2013-2014).
In Season 77 (2014-2015), De Guzman, the Best Setter at that time, and her teammates captured Ateneo's second UAAP title.
In both seasons, the Lady Eagles represented the Philippines in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) University Games and claimed bronze on both occasions.
Professionally, De Guzman rose as the country's finest playmaking talent as she bagged a staggering eight Best Setter plums in PVL while playing for Creamline.
From 2017-2023, the Cool Smashers never missed the podium in 12 PVL conferences, including six titles, with her as their primary setter.
She also emerged as Finals MVP four times in the Open Conference (2018 and 2019), Reinforced Conference (2018), and All-Filipina Conference (2023).
On top of these achievements, the 5-foot-7 Parañaque native has played as a national team setter since 2015. De Guzman is part of the Philippine women's volleyball team, which clinched back-to-back bronzes in the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix held in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand and Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Now, De Guzman will bring her impressive setting to the V. League for the Airybees.
Denso Airybees profile
Founded in 1972, Denso Airybees is a Nishio City-based volleyball club in Aichi, Japan that competes in Japan V. League 1.
Denso never won the V. League crown but placed second in the 2007-2008 season and was a four-time bronze medalist (2011-2012, 2009-2010, 2004-2005, and 1996-1997).
It was also the 2010-2011 Emperor's Cup All Japan Championship champion and a two-time Kurowashiki All Japan Volleyball Tournament winner (2016-2017 and 2007-2008).
Internationally, the Airybees ruled the 2005 Vietnam Television (VTV) International Volleyball Cup titlist.
In the 2022-2023 season, Denso failed to reach the top four in the three tournaments they joined.
The Airybees landed fifth in both the Emperor's Cup and Kurowashiki.
In the V. League Division 1, they wound up in sixth place with a 14-19 win-loss record to miss the final four round.
Bringing her acts to Nishio City, Morado will join Denso's setting staff with Ayane Furuichi and Yuka Yamaguchi.
She is projected to debut against defending champion NEC Red Rockets on October 28 before meeting Filipino-turned-Japanese Santiago's JT Marvelous on November 4.