Mangulabnan: extra motivated when playing the Wrecking Balls

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 03, 2017 02:57 PM
Mangulabnan: extra motivated when playing the Wrecking Balls
Vince Mangulabnan (No.9), admittedly one of the nationís finest setters now, discloses that he was snubbed during the recent tryouts for the Philippine team.

Cignal’s Vince Raphael Mangulabnan didn’t look contrite after categorically saying he was snubbed during the tryouts this year for the Philippine team.

He didn’t even mince words telling why.

“Go on, publish everything I said about the tryouts,” he dared the sportswriter fresh from the HD Spikers’ four-set humbling of the Sta. Elena Wrecking Balls, 25-14, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21, May 30 in their last preliminary match in the Premier Volleyball League.    

Mangulabnan, who came from a family of setters in Lipa City, Batangas, was holding back no punches as he continued to bare that he was personally motivated as well to win that game over Sta. Elena, whose two setters had been both picked over him to join the current national training pool.     

“I put my heart and soul in that game,” said he in a composed voice. “I wanted to prove personally that I am also a worthy setter.”  

The game stats went in his favor, overwhelmingly so, to his utter satisfaction.

Alternating with teammate Glacy Ralph Diezmo, another noteworthy playmaker, Mangulabnan accounted for 31 of the HD Spikers’ total of 36 excellent sets as against the 18 out of 36 of his prime counterpart on the Wrecking Balls. 

He was quick to set things right.

“I don’t begrudge those two guys’ positions in the national training pool. They are also very deserving. It’s not their fault that they were chosen over me. What rankled was the way I was treated during the tryouts. Like I was a non-entity.”       

As it turned out, Mangulabnan, a father of one and graduating Information Technology student from National University, and Cignal will tangle with Sta. Elena Construction at least twice more in the semifinal playoffs of the opening Conference of the inaugural season of the PVL, a joint undertaking of the organizing Sports Vision, Asics as official league partner, and Mikasa as the official game ball.      

Heavy favorite Air Force plays Army in the other semifinal best-of-three showdown.


Hopeful but wary

Mangulabnan set out for the national tryouts with hope and caution. His chances of making it soared upon finding out that Jessie Lopez of Air Force ad Ish Pulvorosa of Ateneo, a pair of multi-awarded setters, were not among the aspirants.    

In the back of his mind, though, lurked the anxiety of meeting again the coaching staff overseeing the tryouts, the same people who used to be his mentors on Cignal and whom he had greatly displeased when he bravely raised an issue with them. Somehow he already had an inkling of what was to happen to him.

As he told it, he was made to wait for hours on the first day of the tryouts before he was sent in to the court to play not even a whole match.

“It was worse in the next two days. After a long wait that really tested my patience, I was made to set for only two sets while the other aspirants for the same   position, those from College of St. Benilde and Perpetual Help College particularly, played game after game after game.”

He stopped attending the tryouts, unable to quell the growing self-pity gnawing at his heart. 

And so one of the two remaining unfulfilled items in his bucket list, to suit up for flag and country, will have to wait another time.  

He has to wait a whole school year as well before the second one – to graduate from his IT studies -- comes to fruition.   

Mangulabnan, a setter since grade school in La Salle-Lipa, credits his training as an athlete for the ease with which he manages his time.

On weekdays he attends classes from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., then flies to Cignal’s three-hour training on Katipunan, commutes home to Bustillos next, plays with three-year-old Vince Isaiah if he’s still awake, and studies till the wee hours of the morning, a decidedly killing schedule for most mortals like you and me.   

Being an athlete, one who distinguished his five-year UAAP stint with back-to-back championships for the National U Bulldogs, has given him, he said, the fitness and endurance to cope even with less rest or sleep.

If he has no games or training, you cannot take him away from his unico hijo and partner Irene Mae, a registered nurse, on weekends usually spent with his mom and siblings in Lipa City.

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