Jau Umandal gets boost of pride from MVP award ahead of Korea tryouts
MANILA, Philippines —As he sets out for international stints in the coming months, Cotabato star Jau Umandal will be drawing pride from his first Spikers’ Turf MVP award.
Umandal will be trying his luck for the Asian quota tryouts next month and will be leading the Philippine men’s volleyball team in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.
Despite Cotabato’s heartbreaking 21-25, 25-22, 17-25, 30-28, 7-15 loss to Cignal in Finals Game 2 on Friday at Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Umandal will still be going to his upcoming international stints with a morale booster from his Open Conference MVP award.
“This [MVP] is a morale booster. Going to international [stints], I am bringing my pride. I have the confidence that I can bring to other countries,” said Umandal after scoring a game-high 28 points in a loss.
The University of Santo Tomas standout, who had a brief stint for Bani Jamra in Bahrain last year, will be joined by Cignal players Marck Espejo, JP Bugaoan, and Manuel Sumanguild with 32 Asian players expected to attend the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) tryouts on April 25 in Jeju Island.
“I got motivated more when I learned that a lot of players from other countries will try out. The excitement and jitters are there because of the caliber of the other aspirants, so there is pressure. But I’m happy because I’m one of the players who got invited. I will prepare and go there with great pride,” Umandal said in Filipino.
Prior to their KVL tryouts, Umandal and the Philippine men’s volleyball team will go to Japan for a training camp after the Holy Week ahead of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.
Umandal dedicated his MVP award to Cotabato coach Odjie Mamon and his teammates.
“This is unexpected. I didn’t assume to win an MVP award because I just wanted to give my best until the end,” he said in Filipino. “I’m so blessed because the league gave it to me. Thank you to my coaches and teammates for trusting me until the Finals.”