Marck Espejo, others beg off as national team set for Taiwan camp
MANILA, Philippines — The new-look Philippine men’s volleyball training pool will have a 10-day training camp starting on February 15 in Chinese Taipei, where the squad will play tune-up games against four professional Taiwanese clubs.
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation on Sunday bared the 15-man training pool for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May, a week after Dante Alinsunurin revealed he was relieved from his national team coaching post and replaced by Odjie Mamon on an interim basis.
Jau Umandal, Rex Intal, and Lloyd Josafat are the remaining members of last year’s national team, which finished fifth in Hanoi Vietnam, in the initial cut.
Sources bared to Inquirer Sports that star spiker Marck Espejo has also begged off along with Cignal teammates Manuel Sumanguid, JP Bugaoan, and Chu Njigha as well as national team mainstays Ish Polvorosa and Kim Malabunga.
Kim Dayandante and Jayvee Sumagaysay, who were also pool members of the past Philippine team, also got the call-up, while 2019 SEA Games silver medalist team member Mark Alfafara will be part of Mamon’s coaching staff as a trainer.
Completing the pool are newcomers Jade Disquitado, Rwenzmel Taguibolos, Leo Ordiales, Vince Lorenzo, Jay Dela Noche, Madzlan Gampong, Jelex Mendiola, Vince Mangulabnan, Edward Camposano, and Noel Kampton.
Bryan Bagunas told Inquirer Sports on Saturday that he is skipping the SEA Games due to his wedding in June, while setter Joshua Retamar claimed that he was invited by Umandal but also begged off due to the upcoming UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament and his claims of lack of support for the team during last year’s biennial meet.
Mamon’s coaching staff is composed of assistant John Abella and strength and conditioning coach Miggy Samonte, while the team manager is Jerome Guhit.
PNVF president Ramon “Tats” Suzara says the training camp is in partnership with the Chinese-Taipei Volleyball Association.
The camp started at the University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavilion.