Alinsunurin on grounded Air Force
The Aguilas, bannered by John Vic De Guzman and the core of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist, were stunned by a new club team composed of unheralded collegiate spikers in four sets in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League Final on Saturday at the Aquamarine Sports Complex in Lipa, Batangas.
Like what he said in previous post-match interviews prior to the Final, Alinsunurin reiterated having eight national team members in De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, Kim Malabunga, Francis Saura, Lloyd Josafat, Kim Dayandante, Jessie Lopez, and Ricky Marcos doesn’t guarantee automatic success since all participating teams were equally strong and hungry coming off a two-year layoff.
Even though these players had bubble trainings for the past months and played in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in October, except for Dayandante and Josafat, they failed to translate it to Champions League success.
It was Team Dasma, which showed better teamwork and bore the fruit of its hard work and sacrifices from its two-month preparation.
“Sinasabi ko nga nung umpisa pa lang yung preparation talaga sobrang short and swerte lang talaga yung nangyari na medyo maganda yung nilaro namin nung mga first games hanggang sa semifinals,” said Alinsunurin after settling for silver.
“Kung sino talaga yung ready at gusto manalo yun talaga yung lumabas e. Congratulations sa nanalo, deserving naman sila sa ginawa nila sa laro. Hopefully may natutunan kami para sa susunod na liga.”
As the Aguilas failed to hide their frustrations for not living up to the expectations, the national team head coach remained happy for Philippine men’s volleyball with its successful comeback after two years since the 2019 Spikers’ Turf season.
“Sobrang nagpapasalamat pa rin ako sa sitwasyon kasi nasimulan natin e, ibig sabihin next year tuloy tuloy na 'to. Sana mas dumami pa yung liga para sa men's talaga para yung level natin mas umangat nang umangat pa,” said Alinsunurin.
De Guzman, who was hailed as the league’s Best Opposite Hitter, expressed on his social media that all the men’s volleyball players were the real champions in this short tournament.
“We may have fallen short in getting the championship but Philippine Mens Volleyball got GOLD. Simula na po ito ng mas malawak at matamis na pagkilala sa aming mahal na industriya!” wrote the Philippine team captain.
Alinsunurin said Air Force will bounce back from this heartbreak once it returns to action next year but for now, he will keep his focus on the national team’s gold medal quest for the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam in May 2022, hoping to resume their training this month.