Spikers' Turf: Bagunas shows mettle to lead Cignal comeback

Spikers’ Turf: Bagunas shows mettle to spearhead Cignal comeback

/ 02:13 PM April 15, 2024

Bryan Bagunas Cignal Spikers' Turf

Cignal’s Bryan Bagunas in Spikers’ Turf.–SPIKERS’ TURF PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion Cignal and newcomer Criss Cross ignited a new rivalry in men’s club volleyball following a thrilling encounter in the 2024 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference before a record crowd Sunday evening at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Two of the country’s top spikers went face-to-face in a showdown like no other with Bryan Bagunas spearheading the HD Spikers’ charge against the Marck Espejo-led King Crunchers.


Bagunas got the better of Espejo as Cignal emerged victorious in the showdown between two undefeated clubs.


READ: Bagunas outduels Espejo as Cignal stays perfect in Spikers’ Turf

Bagunas, who soldiered on despite suffering from cramps midway through the match, fired a game-high 27 points to power the HD Spikers to a 20-25, 25-15, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12, come-from-behind win and in the process spoiled Espejo’s debut.

The 6-foot-5 Bagunas collected 26 kills and an ace in an impressive showing that got him the unanimous nod to bag the Spikers’ Turf Player of the Week honors for the period April 10 to 14.

“Nag-cramps ako, both legs. Buti na lang nakahabol ulit. Syempre ako, bilang bago sa team, gusto ko naman talagang makatulong sa team,” said Bagunas, who is fresh from leading Win Streak to a back-to-back title in the Top Volleyball League in Taiwan.

“Nangibabaw yung mentality ko na makatulong sa team.”

Bagunas’ production, leadership, and unquestionable heart in the acid test kept Cignal unbeaten in five games.

The National University product was the hands-down choice of all print and online scribes regularly covering the league organized by Sports Vision and broadcast via live stream through www.spikersturf.ph.


READ: Bagunas happy to see PH men’s volleyball draw more support

Bagunas eclipsed the other commendable performances shown by Criss Cross open spiker and one-time PoW Jude Garcia and PGJC-Navy’s Joeven Dela Vega.

He, however, downplayed scoring another huge victory over long-time on-court rival Espejo.

For Bagunas, the rivalry is a welcome development to further the growth of men’s volleyball in the country as they seek to continue what they started together when the men’s national team earned a historic silver medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in Manila.

“Hindi naman kami nagpapataasan. Basta ang goal lang namin, kasi parati rin kaming naguusap kasi kaming dalawa yung men’s (player)na naglalaro internationally, ang goal din talaga namin is ipakita lang namin kung anong meron yung men’s volleyball para ma-excite yung mga tao,” said Bagunas, who also played in Japan V.League before taking his act to Taiwan.

“Mas naging exciting yung magkaiba kami ng team… Pero yun nga, tama yung sinabi ni Jau (Umandal) na hindi lang dapat kami ni [Marck] yung inaabangan, dapat lahat ng men’s tournament dito or lahat ng players sinusuportahan. Sana magkaisa at suportahan yung bawat player,” he added.

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Inching closer to a semifinal berth, Cignal guns for a sweep in its remaining three matches starting Wednesday against D’ Navigators at Ynares Sports Arena before facing VNS-Nasty on April 24 and Maverick on April 26 to wrap up its elims campaign.

TAGS: Bryan Bagunas, spikers’ turf

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