The men showed up almost in full force on Day 2 of the Philippine National Volleyball Team tryouts at the Subic Gym, Thursday.
Each of the players packs strong potential that would send the coaching staff deep into the night figuring out who to pick and who not to.
Marck Espejo, a member of the silver medal-winning team in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, showed the pandemic didn’t slow him down. He squeezed out inspired performances from national teammates Jessie Lopez and Josh Retamar — and 28 others, split into morning and afternoon sessions.
“I’m sure the coaches will have a hard time determining who to pick,” PNVF president Tats Suzara, who added that the men’s and women’s volleyball teams will be composed of 20 players each.
Thirty-one of the 40 players received invites to the men’s tryouts answered the call. Nine missed the exercise, including Bryan Bagunas. He arrived in the country from his stint in the Japan V.League only recently and has to complete a 14-day quarantine.
The PNVF scheduled the three-day tryouts in Subic through the efforts of Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig City, the federation’s local government unit godfather.
The women’s volleyball tryouts were staged on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the beach volleyball tryouts will cap the major PNVF activity on Friday. All participants underwent RT-PCR tests, with the players wearing face masks all throughout the tryout proceedings.
Long-time Philippine team skipper John Vic de Guzman led the morning session aspirants, who included his teammates Mark Alfafara and Jao Umandal.
“Maayos ang tryouts. Una kasi batch by batch ang tryout at sobrang dami ang nag-attend,” De Guzman said. “Makikita mo din na talagang gustong-gusto ng lahat na makapasok sa national team.
“Masaya kami kasi sobrang organized and tryout lalo na pagdating sa safety protocols.
JP Bugaoan, Kim Dayadante, Anthony Ekwenugo, Mark Enciso, Alche Gupiteo, Noel Kampton, Kim Malabunga, Chumason Njigha, Leo Ordiales, Ish Polvorosa, Jian Matthee Salarzon, Ricky Marcos, and Manuel Sumanguid completed the morning session.
The afternoon session consisted of Rex Intal, Nico Almendras, Leo Aringo, Lloyd Josafat, Joeven dela Vega, Jack Kalingking, Louie Ramirez, Ysay Marasigan, John Mark Ronquillo, Kharyl Parce, Rayver Sison, and Francis Saura.