CAGAYAN — Erica Adachi has been the most popular Brazilian athlete in the Philippines ever since she suited up for Petron in the Philippine SuperLigai n 2014 and 2015.
But before she made her name with the Blaze Spikers, another Brazilian in Leila Barros basked in the adulation of Filipino fans more than a decade ago.
And as Adachi returned to the country to play in the Beach VolleybalL Republic Invitationals here, she revealed something that would definitely stir up interest among those who have watched Barros in the FIVB World Grand Prix before.
“Since the end of the PSL last year, I had this idea when I was travelling with the girls to bring Leila to attribute all the love that the fans gave to me, the good times that I had here in the Philippines,” she said.
Having heard a lot about how enamoured Filipino volleyball fans are with Barros, Adachi tried her best to get in touch with the Brazilian legend.
“Since I got here the first year, everybody was like ‘How’s Leila? I’m a huge fan of her.’ I heard she never came back after 2000s. So I had a couple of friends in Brazil that are friends with her. So I contacted her and told her all my stories because she didn’t know me. You know, I’m a fan of Leila too,” she shared.
“I sent an email like, ‘so I went to the Philippines and everybody still loves you and everybody still talks about you. It was great what you did for the volleyball community. You opened so many space for the volleyball community for the Philippines. I’m glad that could experience that because I was there and I could feel the passion that they have for you. They kind of reflect on me,’” she added.
With Barros busy with her sports work for the Brazilian government, the 28-year-old setter wondered if she would actually reply.
“First of all, l I’d like to thank her because I don’t know if she knew how big she was here. So I wanted to tell her how big the sport is right now,” she said. “I also asked her if she would come here to meet the fans and be in contact with the volleyball community.”
Adachi said Barros was really excited and told her, “Oh my gosh I can’t believe you contact me and you experience all of that. I felt so happy when I was there. I had such a good time. The fans were amazing. I’m so grateful for all that they did to me.”
And while it’s been a long time coming, Adachi said she is in talks with stakeholders to bring Barros back to the Philippines in the near future.
“We have the plan to bring her here but we still don’t know what were gonna do. So that’s why I’m trying to figure out with some people here on what are the things that we can do,” she said. “But I want her to have exposure and see as many fans as she can. I think everybody wants to see her.”
“I want the public to know that she wants to come back. We’re gonna try to make it happen.,” she ended. — By Joyce Palad