Bagunas urges for longer leagues for men's volleyball players | Inquirer Sports

Bagunas urges for longer leagues for men’s volleyball players

/ 05:59 PM September 14, 2022
Bryan Bagunas Oita Miyoshi

Bryan Bagunas for Oita Miyoshi. Photo from Bryan Bagunas’ Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Bryan Bagunas is pleased to see the return of his fellow men’s volleyball players in the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, but he hopes for its consistent staging for the continuous development of their sport.

Bagunas, who has been vocal on social media to bring back the men’s leagues this pandemic era, was glad that the three-year wait finally came to an end last month.

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“I’m so happy for men’s volleyball because this will help them to earn an income and they will no longer be inactive at home,” said the Philippine men’s volleyball team star told INQUIRER.net in Filipino as he is set to make his debut for the Taichung LianZhuang Win Streak in Taiwan’s Top League in October.

Although most of his teammates and former rivals are back in action in the ongoing Open Conference, the 24-year-old outside spiker hopes that the Spikers’ Turf will return to its regular two-conference calendar to boost the level of the national team program, which suffered a first-round exit in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam last May.

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“Malaking bagay na magtuloy tuloy. Sana magtuloy tuloy, hindi yung magkakaliga siyempre one month tapos matitigil ng around ten months. Sana magtuloy tuloy para magtuloy tuloy din yung improvement ng men’s volleyball,” Bagunas said.

(This is big for men’s volleyball. I hope the leagues will keep going and not just run for a month and then stop for around 10 months. If it will be uninterrupted, the improvement of men’s volleyball will be continuous.)

The UAAP and NCAA are also planning to bring back the men’s volleyball competition in their respective calendars this season, while Sports Vision, the organizer of Spikers’ Turf, is looking to add a preseason tournament for collegiate teams in October.

Before Spikers’ Turf reopened, the men’s volleyball’s only tournament was the week-long Champions League of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation last December. The country only had three active players in the professional ranks for the past two years with Bagunas and Marck Espejo playing in the 2021-22 Japan V.League and Jau Umandal having a short stint with Bani Jamra in Bahrain early this year. Jayvee Sumagaysay and Madzlan Gampong also played in a one-week league in Malaysia.

The former Japan V.League import understands that everyone is affected by the pandemic but he hopes for a consistent national team program since not all men’s volleyball players are playing in Spikers’ Turf, where only seven teams joined namely Cignal, National University-Sta. Elena, PGJC-Navy, VNS-One Alicia, Sta. Rosa, Ateneo-Fudgee Barr, and Army-Katinko.

Some of his national teammates John Vic De Guzman, Francis Saura, Mark Alfafara, Jessie Lopez, and others are not part of the league’s return as Air Force didn’t participate in this conference.

“The leagues were interrupted because of this pandemic. We can’t blame (the organizers) because everyone was affected. I hope this is the start,” he said.

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The former UAAP MVP believes that continuous training for the Philippine team will help the country reclaim its place on the SEA Games podium after an underwhelming result in the previous edition caused by the absence of local leagues.

“Kagaya ngayon tigil nanaman yung training namin, like yung nandyan sa Pilipinas yung mga iba kong teammates na walang team ngayon. Tigil. Wala, talagang mahirap magperform,” Bagunas said. “Umaasa lang sila sa training nakapagtraining lang sila February pero patigil tigil pa. Kami lang talaga Marck yung nagtuloy tuloy nun. Sobrang hirap talaga. Kailangan talaga long term.”

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TAGS: Bryan Bagunas, Philippine men's volleyball team, spikers’ turf
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