Bryan Bagunas, Marck Espejo banner new look national team pool for SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines — After the removal of Dante Alinsunurin from the head coaching post, the Philippine men’s volleyball team will have a new look in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia with several newcomers invited to the pool.
Inquirer Sports sources bared the list of the 19-man national team training pool for the biennial meet in May in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Bryan Bagunas, who plays in Taiwan for Win Streak volleyball club, headlined the list along with Cignal star Marck Espejo and Jau Umandal of Cotabato.
A few holdovers from the previous national squad were also invited as interim coach Odjie Mamon invited Cignal’s JP Bugaoan and Manuel Sumanguid III as well as Ish Polvorosa and Kim Malabunga of Imus and Kim Dayandante of Cotabato.
National University players Michaelo Buddin, Jann Sumagui, Rwenzmzel Taguibolos, Leo Ordiales, and Joseph Bello were also called up as well as La Salle star Noel Kampton, University of Santo Tomas Jay dela Noche, and D’ Navigators Iloilo star Jade Disquitado.
Completing the pool are Vince Mangulabnan, Vince Lorenzo, and Chumason Njigha.
A source added that these players already received the letters and they have until February 3 to confirm.
During the Premier Volleyball League press conference, former national team coach Dante Alinsunurin revealed he was removed from post due to his commitment to multiple teams like Choco Mucho in the Premier Volleyball League and National University Bulldogs in the UAAP.
Alinsunurin, who steered the men’s national team to a historic silver medal in 2019, bared that team manager Mike Verano and the Philippine National Volleyball Federation frequently asked him if he can juggle his national team duty with his other coaching gigs this month.
Alinsunurin remained committed to the national team and assured that he can manage his time but the board decided to replace him with Mamon, who ironically also coaches the UST Tiger Spikers in the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament and the AMC Cotabato Spikers in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.
Bagunas on Sunday took to Twitter, questioning the decision to relieve Alinsunurin. But he still lauded his coach since college, amid the development.
“Oppsss isang malaking BAKIT? Pero sobrang proud po ako sayo coach sa lahat ng pinag daanan mo as a head coach ng National Team dika sumuko kahit madaming opportunity na dumating sayo di mo kami iniwan,” Bagunas wrote. “Sayang yung mga plano mo para sa NT Nakakalungkot lang.Pero SALUDO kami sayo!”
Mamon will work as interim coach until May 31, as Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso will take over after the biennial meet and will call the shots in the Asian Games.