Fresh off lifting WinStreak to the Top League championship in Taiwan, Bryan Bagunas is set to join Imus-Ivy Tuason Photography in its battle for bronze series against Iloilo in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.
AJAA Spikers head coach Sammy Acaylar had a short but meaningful answer when asked if Bagunas can make it on Wednesday.
“Yes,” quipped Acaylar, signifying the return of Bagunas in the country’s first and only men’s volley premier league.
“Actually malaking bagay si Bryan, malaki ang tulong na magagawa niya sa team,” said Acaylar on the 6-foot-5 wing spiker that was just in another level in Taiwan.
Bagunas dropped 37 points on 27 attacks, seven service aces, and three blocks in Game 1 of their best-of-three finals series against Taipower but was limited in Game 2 to just 21 points to force a do-or-die.
In the winner-take-all Game 3 on Monday, Bagunas exploded for 42 points on 39 spikes, two blocks, and an ace to give WinStreak the crown, 19-25. 25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 15-12.
Even though Imus fell short of its main goal of taking the Spikers’ Turf title in its first conference, Acaylar said he is still glad that his team made it to the Top Four.
But of course, he couldn’t help but wonder what if Bagunas made it in time for the round-robin semifinals – a factor that can easily turn the tide to their favor.
“Happy naman ako why? kasi sa short time na preparation namin nakapasok kami sa Top Four. For now siguro, hanggang doon lang muna,” shared Acaylar.
“Nanghihinayang syempre kahit sinong coach at sinong team gustong pumasok sa Finals lalo na ako sanay ako sa Finals. Anyway kung Battle for Bronze lang ang inabot namin, we have to respect that, sayang lang kasi may isa pa kaming player na hinihintay,” he added.
The AJAA Spikers won both of their games against the D’Navigators in this conference, securing a five-setter win in the eliminations before taking a four set victory in the semis.
Game 2 will be on Friday while Game 3, if necessary, will be on Sunday.