PH team coaches impressed by Bagunas’ improvement: ‘He’s like a Super Saiyan’
MANILA, Philippines — When Bryan Bagunas arrived in the country and joined the Philippine men’s volleyball team’s practice two weeks ago, coach Dante Alinsunurin, his coaching staff, and players were in awe of their prolific outside spiker’s development ahead of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam this May.
Describing what he saw from Bagunas’ first national team practice fresh from his third season with Oita Miyoshi in Japan V.League, Alinsunurin said the former UAAP MVP took his game into another level and even compared his player’s improvement to an anime character in Dragon Ball.
“Noong unang training namin gulat na gulat ako. Parang hindi na yata tao itong si Bryan. Parang Super Saiyan,” the national team coach shared to Inquirer Sports.
(When he first joined the training, I was really shocked with his improvement. He is not human. He is like a Super Saiyan.)
“His movements are different. Th coaches asking each oth, ‘what happened to Bryan? What is he eating to reach this level?'” he added.
Bagunas, who nailed the silver medal-clinching attack on Thailand in the 2019 SEA Games, finished the 2021-22 season as the Top 6 scorer, averaging 15.5 points in 33 games, highlighted with his career-high 42 points in Oita Miyoshi’s 20-25, 25-19, 30-32, 25-21, 15-13 victory over VC Nagano last March 27.
The National University standout was also No.10 in attacking with 49.5-percent spiking clip, 13th in blocking with 0.47 blocks per set and 16th in service with a score of 21.
Alinsunurin, who coached Bagunas at NU from 2014 to 2019, said the 24-year-old has truly reached another level, coming from a Top 9 finish in scoring in his first Japan stint three years ago averaging 16.5-points in 25 games and a dip in the 2020-21 season, where he ended up 14th in scoring with 14.5 points in 31 matches.
“He’s more comfortable with his movements in blockings. His offense has more variations and his service has become more loaded. He is oozing with confidence and that would help our team this SEA Games,” he said.
Bagunas, meanwhile, said just wants to reach greater heights every season.
“Of course, every year and every training all I want for myself is to keep on improving my skills. Coach Dante and his coaching staff keep on telling me to go out of my comfort zone. So I promise to myself that I should learn and improve every year,” said Bagunas in a virtual interview.
Despite winning only six of their 36 games, ending up ninth this season, the 6-foot-5 spiker is still proud of Oita Miyoshi’s development after he kept his team in Division 1 during their relegation match.
“It was a hard season for us. Playing back-to-back games in a week and most of our victories were five-setters,” Bagunas said. “I’m glad that my teammates were competitive after we upset some Top 5 teams in the V.League. I’m happy with our improvement and thankful for Oita, which allowed me to come home as soon as possible for the national team.”
Bagunas hinted that he has other offers that he didn’t disclose. But for now, his focus is winning the gold in the SEA Games.
“There are offers but my focus is on SEA Games,” he said.