Bagunas, Espejo banner PH men’s volleyball team in Asian Games
MANILA, Philippines — Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas led the 12-man roster of the Philippine men’s volleyball team for the Asian Games starting on September 23 in Hangzhou, China.
Espejo and Bagunas, who skipped the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, are teaming up again in the Filipino Spikers’ first Asiad in 49 years.
The hard-hitting pair will banner the squad under Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso. The Philippines was slotted in Group F with Southeast Asian Games champion Indonesia, Volleyball Nations League bronze medalist Japan, and Afghanistan during the draw of the 19 squads last July.
Bagunas is the reigning MVP of Taiwan’s Top Volleyball League after steering his club WinStreak to a championship, while Espejo became the Incheon Korean Air Jumbos’ first Asian import in the upcoming Korean V-League.
Filipino-American opposite spiker Steve Rotter, who was the breakout star for the Philippines in the previous SEA VLeague, also headlined the roster submitted by the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Mainstays Jau Umandal and Kim Malabunga were also included with JP Bugaoan, Chumason Njigha, Ryan Ka, Lloyd Josafat, setters Vince Mangulabnan and Adrian Villados as well as libero Manuel Sumanguid.
The Philippines is also sending teams to men’s and women’s beach volleyball events but will not participate in women’s indoor, which the country joined five years ago.
The men’s beach volleyball team will be composed of Ranran Abdilla, James Buytrago, Jude Garcia, and Jaron Requinton, who won the country’s third straight bronze medal in the latest SEA Games in Cambodia.
The women’s beach volleyball squad is bannered by lone holdover Dij Rodriguez with newcomers Gen Eslapor, Grydelle Matibag, and Khylem Harl Progella.