Playing their final tune-up match with Bryan Bagunas, the Philippine Men’s National Volleyball Team could not get a set against FC Tokyo this time, falling 21-25, 12-25, 20-25, 15-25, at the Fukagawa Gym, Thursday.
Bagunas will be leaving the Philippine contingent to join the Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler on Friday morning. He will then reunite with the squad on November 30, two days before the 30th Southeast Asian Games volleyball tournament.
“For me naman, okay naman. Nakakasabay naman kami kaso nga lang, kulang pa sa communication. Iba rin ‘tong kalaban namin. Division one ito,” said Bagunas. “Lumalaban din naman, nakikita ko. Madidiskarte lang din kasi sila kaya nahirapan kami sa blockings.”
In their match last Tuesday, the Nationals managed to eke out a set against the Japanese Division I squad. However, this time around, the Philippine contingent had no answer for FC Tokyo’s loaded attacks.
The team, however, showed a promising start led by Bagunas, Marck Espejo, John Vic De Guzman, and Kim Malabunga, along with new starters Rex Intal and Ish Polvorosa. The Philippine even led by two points, 20-18, before FC Tokyo hammered down seven consecutive hits to take set one.
“Kanina kasi, talagang nag-focus kami sa opensa namin. Nagkataon lang na medyo ‘yung receive namin pumalpak,” said National team head coach Dante Alinsunurin. “Kahit papaano naman, kahit mabilis silang gumalaw, nakakasunod pa rin ka at may natutunan kami sa game na ‘yun.”
Alinsunurin then again tested his team’s depth, giving the young Joshua Umandal and key reserve Fauzi Ismail their much-needed playing time.
“Ngayong training camp, kailangan mo rin tignan kung sinong pepwede pa ipasok, kung sino ‘yung buo ‘yung loob talaga. Maganda rin ‘yung na-experience nila. Kahit papaano nakadikit sila,” he said.
The Rebisco-backed spikers look to carve out a better result on Friday, when they face Rissho University.