Jau Umandal all about helping PH volleyball grow, winning

Jau Umandal all about helping PH volleyball grow, winning

/ 05:24 PM March 27, 2024

Cignal HD Spikers' Jau Umandal spikers turf

Cignal HD Spikers’ Jau Umandal in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference. –SPIKERS’ TURF

MANILA, Philippines — Jau Umandal could find himself in healthy competition for the outside spikers positions in the Philippine men’s volleyball team anew with overseas stars Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas if he makes it to the training pool.

But all the Cignal star wants is the best for the squad for its 2025 international tournaments including the hosting of the FIVB Men’s World Championship.

Umandal, who stepped up in the absence of Espejo and Bagunas in last year’s Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, is not thinking of fighting for a spot against two of arguably the best men’s volleyball players of the country as his only intention is to help the growth of the sport in case he makes it to the 25-man pool selected by national team coaches Sergio Veloso, Dante Alinsunurin, and Odjie Mamon

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“Healthy competition pa rin kami. Ang panalo ng isa, panalo naming lahat. Mas maganda na malalim yung kukuhanan naming sa bench. Magtutulong-tulong kami para maabot namin yung achievement ng national team,” said Umandal, who united with his fellow Spikers’ Turf players, NCAA and UAAP teams in the launch of the Men’s World Championship 2025 in Manila on Tuesday.

The reigning Spikers’ Turf MVP has been playing with Espejo and Bagunas since the team’s historic silver medal in the 2019 SEA Games. The emergence of the University of Santo Tomas product started in 2021 when he stepped up for the national team in the AVC Club Championship without the 1-2 punch, which earned him an opportunity to play abroad for Bani Jamra in Bahrain the following year.

The 26-year-old outside spiker relished the golden opportunity to take men’s volleyball to greater heights after the Philippine National Volleyball Federation earned the hosting rights to the FIVB Men’s World Championship from September 12 to 28 next year at Mall of Asia Arena and Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Sa aming volleyball players sobrang laking ng impact nito lalo na gaganapin dito ang World [Championship]. Sobrang daming volleyball players sa ibang bans ana hinahangaan ng bawat isa amin. Sobrang sarap sa feeling na makikita nyo yung mga hinahangaan nyong volleyball players na magko-compete dito sa Pinas,” he said. “Makakatulong din yun, makakadagdag sa experience, learning ng bawat isa sa mga manlalaro sa bansa. Opportunity sa mga susunod na generation na maglalaro pa sa national team.”

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READ: Jau Umandal brushes aside pressure, hopes to display MVP form in SEA Games

Umandal relished the comeback of setter Joshua Retamar and Dante Alinsunurin, who will be one of Sergio Veloso’s assistant coaches, to the national team after their departure last year.

“Masaya kami kasi naging part din kami ng program ni coach Dante since 2019 to 2022, si coach Dante ang may hawak sa amin. Nandoon ulit yung learnings namin sa dating program namin kay coach Dante. Masaya kami kasi tatlong coaches na magtutulong-tulong para sa program ana gagawin namin,” said Umandal, who will still be with his UST coach Mamon.

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He is also raring to play again with star setter Retamar, who is also his good friend. 

“Kami ni Owa matagal na naming pinag-uusapan yan eh. Lagi namin siyang pinipilit na bumalik kasi gusto rin niya. Talagang dumating lang sa time dati na nagkaroon ng problema. Yun lang minsan ang nangyari. Masaya kami na nakabalik si Owa. Malaking impact si Owa sa team,” he said.

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Umandal’s focus, for now, is still on the Cignal HD Spikers’ title-retention bid in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference as the national team build-up starts after the tournament.

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