Jau Umandal is beyond grateful for another opportunity to showcase his wares abroad – this time in South Korea.
Umandal was one of four Filipino players invited to the Korean Volleyball League Asian Quota tryouts to be held on April 25 to 27 at Jeju Gymnasium.
The other players from the Philippines are Cignal’s Marck Espejo, JP Bugaoan, and Manuel Sumanguid.
They will battle it out with 28 other players from Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
“Syempre sobrang saya ulit nung nabalitaan ko. Another opportunity para sa akin,” said the 6-foot-2 open spiker out of University of Santo Tomas.
His first stint overseas was in Bahrain where he played for Bani Jamra in the Isa Bin Rashid Volleyball League in January 2022.
And to belong in the 32-player selection pool for the KVL tryouts is an honor for Umandal.
“Big opportunity para sa akin, as a player dream ko ito. Sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam na mapansin ka rin ng other countries,” said Umandal, who is leading AMC-Cotabato in the ongoing Spikers’ Turf Open Conference semifinals.
Even though challenging as there will be 23 wing spikers in the tryouts, Umandal is willing to do anything for a spot there.
After all, the challenge to be among the best is what makes him go every time – be it at any level from Spikers’ Turf to the international leagues to the national team.
“Actually marami kaming open spiker na nandoon eh pero gagawin ko lahat ng best ko para doon sa tryout. Sobrang sarap lang sa feeling kasi nacha-challenge ako lalo every game, every training na kailangan kong pagbutihan kasi may pinaghahandaan ako,” said Umandal.
“Marami akong pinaghahandaan eh, Spikers’ Turf itong semis, SEA Games, tapos yung tryout.”
Umandal is expected to lead the national team in the upcoming 32nd Southeast Asian Games with most of the training pool coming from AMC-Cotabato along with other young talents.
Also recently introduced were Filipino-American players Steven Rotter, Cyrus De Guzman, and Michael Vicente.