Talagang lalaban tayo sa SEA Games -- Bagunas
Mark Escarlote on Jul 10, 2019 11:20 AM
All eyes will be on the duo of Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas come the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The Philippine men’s volleyball team brought home not only great honor in the form of a podium finish in the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championships. They also got a huge morale boost in their build-up for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.
Showing unquestionable heart and great teamwork, the Nationals were able to come back from two sets down to upset Saraburi-Thai Denmark, 22-25, 27-29, 25-18, 25-18, 26-24, in the battle for third on Tuesday in Sisaket, Thailand.
It was the second time that the Philippines finished in the podium in the tough Thailand tournament since the Philippine Superliga All Stars led by Aby Marano, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Ces Molina, Mika Reyes, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Rhea Dimaculangan brought home the bronze back in 2017.
Marck Espejo paced the Filipinos with 35 points, Bryan Bagunas had 24 while Ranran Abdilla and Kim Malabunga had 19 and 12 markers, respectively.
The Philippines’ 53% attacking percentage and 22 kill blocks shows great promise in the Nationals' bid for a medal finish in the 30th SEA Games, which the country will host in November.
“Siyempre mabo-boost din po talaga yung morale namin ‘pag dating ng SEA games po,” said Bagunas, who is set to begin his stint in the Japan V. League with the Oita Miyoshi Weiss Adler a couple of months from now.
The hitter added that the Philippines has a good chance of claiming a medal in the biennial meet with the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and their corporate sponsor Rebisco working on giving them enough exposure and training.
“Sa tingin ko naman talaga lalaban po tayo sa SEA Games,” he said.
Bagunas also credited the return of Espejo, who won the 2nd Best Wing Spiker award, adding more firepower to the team.
“Sobrang laking bagay na kasama si Marck Espejo sa team. Talagang sya yung magiging main man namin ‘pag mangangailangan kami ng points,” said Bagunas of Espejo, who skipped joining the national team in 2017 because of prior commitments.
Team captain John Vic De Guzman in an Instagram post stressed that the squad joined the tournament to learn and amidst the criticisms hurled at particular players, the coaching staff and even with the team, the Nationals will continue their journey to bring pride and honor to the country.
“We came here to learn and we will go back home to improve,” said the two-time skipper, who was part of the national team since 2015. “Marami pa kaming pag-aaralan at pagbubutihin as a team and as players para ituloy ang laban para sa isang bansang nagkakaisa sana at hindi nagsisiraan.”
The players will return to their respective club teams in time for the Spikers’ Turf Final Four.
International training camps in Japan and China will be next for the Nationals. LVPI also arranged the training of the 2017 national team in Suwon, South Korea where the Filipinos played against the Korean U-19, U-23 and club squads.
“Talagang kailangan pa talaga namin mag ensayo ng matagal para makuha namin yung tamang tempo ng isa't isa,” said Bagunas.
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