The men showed up almost in full force on Day 2 of the Philippine National Volleyball Federation national volleyball team tryouts at the Subic Gym bubble, each packing strong potentials 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, squeezing out inspired performances from national teammates Jessie Lopez and Josh Retamar—and 29 others who were split into morning and afternoon sessions.
“I’m sure the coaches will have a hard time determining who to pick,” PNVF president Ramon “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 were invited to the men’s tryouts answered the call with nine missing the exercise, including Bryan Bagunas, who arrived in the country from his stint in the Japan V.League only recently and had 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 with the beach volleyball tryouts capping 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 includes 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 gusting-gusto ng lahat na makapasok sa national team.”
“Masaya kami kasi sobrang organized and tryout lalo na pagdating sa safety protocols,” the former NCAA champion from College of Saint Benilde De Guzman added.
JP Bugaoan, Kim Dayadante, Anthony Ekwenugo, Mark Enciso, Alche Gupiteo, Noel Kampton, Kim Malabunga, Chumson Njigha Jr., Leo Ordiales, Ish Polvorosa, Jian Matthee Salarzon Ricky Marcos, and Manuel Sumanguid completed the morning session.
The afternoon session was composed 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.