Jau Umandal headlines men’s national team in SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines — Veteran setter Vince Mangulabnan will be the skipper of the rebuilding Philippine men’s volleyball team, which seeks to return to the podium in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May.
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) on Sunday finally bared the lineups of the men’s and women’s volleyball teams and beach volleyball squads.
Newly-crowned Spikers’ Turf Open Conference MVP Jau Umandal, the lone holdover from the national team that won a historic silver in 2019, will be leading the offensive forefront of the rebuilding squad under new Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso.
“I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I just want to do my best for the team. I will help them in any way I can,” said Umandal in Filipino after receiving his first MVP award on Friday.
Mangulabnan and Umandal will be teaming up with his AMC-Cotabato teammates Lloyd Josafat, Kim Dayandante, Vince Patrick Lorenzo, and Jayvee Sumagaysay, who settled for silver after losing to Cignal in the Finals.
Making their national team debuts are Filipino-American recruits Steve Rotter, who also played for Cotabato in the Spikers’ Turf, as well as middle blocker Cyrus De Guzman and wing spike Michael Vicente.
Cignal libero Manuel Sumanguid, who also played in last year’s SEA Games, will be returning to the squad, leading young players Jade Disquitado, Jay Rack Dela Noche, Rwenzmel Taguibolos, and Leo Ordiales.
Joining Veloso are assistant coaches Odjie Mamon and Rommel Abella, trainer Mark Alfafara, strength and conditioning coach Melchizedek Samonte, and team manager Jerome Guhit.
The men’s team is seeking to redeem itself after missing the podium in Vietnam last year even without stars Bryan Bagunas, Marck Espejo, and Joshua Retamar, who begged off due to different reasons.
Veloso is ushering in a new era after coach Dante Alinsunurin, who steered the team to a historic silver medal in 2019, was removed from his post.
The team will fly to Japan after Holy Week.