The Philippine Men’s Volleyball National Team training pool announced last Sunday for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games has a core of AMC-Cotabato players suiting up in the ongoing Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.
Nine of the 15 men included in the list released by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation were from the Cotabato Spikers and hopefully, it will be an advantage for the national team.
“I hope that it would be an advantage na ganon,” said national team head coach Odjie Mamon, who also handles AMC in the Spikers’ Turf.
Cotabato Spikers in the pool are Lloyd Josafat, Rex Intal, Jau Umandal, Vince Lorenzo, Madz Gampong, Kim Dayandante, Jelex Mendiola, Edward Camposano, and Jayvee Sumagaysay.
Completing the team are Iloilo’s Jade Disquitado, NU-Team B’s Rwenzmel Taguibolos and Leo Ordiales, UST’s Jay Rack Dela Noche, La Salle’s Noel Kampton, and Ateneo assistant coach Vince Mangulabnan.
Mamon shared that having a core that has been playing together for quite some time already has made wonders in the past, citing the 2019 SEA Games squad that has mainly National University and Philippine Air Force players, snagging a historic silver.
“Actually napatunayan na yan nung 2019, NU at Air Force yung core noon eh nag combine so siguro, kung mayroon konting traces of like that, it could be an advantage ng selection na ito,” shared Mamon, who will have assistant Rommel Abella, strength and conditioning coach Miggy Samonte, trainer Mark Alfafara, and team manager Jerome Guhit with him.
Half of the 31st SEA Games squad was from either NU or Air Force, teams that were also handled by then-national team coach Dante Alinsunurin.
They were Bryan Bagunas, Ranran Abdilla, Francis Saura, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos, Jessie Lopez, and Joshua Retamar.
Rounding out that team were Marck Espejo, Ish Polvorosa, John Vic De Guzman, Jack Kalingking, Alfafara, Intal, and Umandal.
The newly-named pool will travel to Taiwan on February 15 for a 10-day training camp that will have them playing eight games against professional clubs there including WinStreak where Bagunas is part of as its import.
With more than three months left to prepare, Mamon just wants his team to learn the system first and get the international exposure needed as only two in the roster have experienced playing in SEA Games.
“We just have to learn. They have to learn ‘yung new system. Tapos magkaroon ng transfer ng learning sa kalaban, para maexpose din sila kung ano ‘yung nasa labas kasi dalawa lang naman dito yung naglaro noong SEA Games,” Mamon said, who bared that he will have Mangulabnan as his captain.
“I-try nila na magcompete talaga, of course training camp lang ito pero full pack naman na eight games yun halos araw-araw.”
SEA Games will be held in Cambodia and will commence on May 5.