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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Men’s volley team wants Asiad gains sustained

Marck Espejo scores.

HANGZHOU – Two pillars of the Philippine men’s volleyball team are hopeful the gains made out of its 19th Asian Games stint will be sustained in the long term.

Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo both expressed fulfillment for the experience of being part of the team that played in the quadrennial meet for the first time after 49 years.

From here, the two seek a continuous program for the men’s team that requires constant training and exposure in overseas competitions if it is to keep at par with its neighboring countries.

“Sana magtuluy-tuloy ‘yung training namin, sana huwag mahinto, and then sana sumali pa kami sa iba’t ibang tournament para na din sa exposure and maka-gain kami ng experience,” said Bagunas, the 25-year-old spiker out of National University.

Espejo shared the same sentiment.

“Super thankful na nabigyan ng opportunity and chance to represent ‘yung Philippine men’s volleyball team dito sa Asian Games. And I hope na magtuluy-tuloy ito sa mga susunod na taon,” said the outside hitter from Ateneo.

The stint was the first for the men’s volleyball team since the 1974 Asiad in Tehran, Iran.

And the Filipinos made the most out of it, finishing with a 1-2 record in their group including a 25-23, 25-16, 25-12 win over Afghanistan that kept them in the running for a playoffs berth.

But they lost to Japan in their final game, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23, at the Deqing Sports Centre Gymnasium to formally bow out of contention.

The Philippine team lost its opening game against Indonesia, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20.

Still Bagunas was proud with the way the team fought and competed.

“Nakita ko naman ‘yung improvement nga (Philippine) men’s volleyball team, and sobrang nagulat din ako na lumalaban na kami dito sa Asian Games,” said Bagunas.

The team is heading home on Saturday.

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