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    Bagunas, Espejo out of PH men's team to Asian Club Championship

    Aug 27, 2021

    COACH Dante Alinsunurin bared Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas will not be available to play for the Philippines in the 2021 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on October 8 to 15 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand due to their prior commitments to their Japan V. League squads.

    With the Japan V. League Division 1 kicking off on October 15, Alinsunurin said Bagunas is committed to playing his third season with Oita Miyoshi and Espejo will be returning to the league after a three-year absence with new club FC Tokyo.

    “Malaking kawalan talaga sa team na hindi makapaglaro sa Bryan at Marck dahil sa sitwasyon nila,” Alinsunurin told SPIN.ph.

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    Both stars were listed in the 20-member pool and part of the team photo released by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) on Friday. But Bagunas is set to leave for Japan on September 5 while Espejo is only waiting for his departure date.

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    Despite the absence of arguably the best male spikers in the country, Alinsunurin is still relishing the opportunity for the men’s team to return to action, two years after their historic silver medal run in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

    Tough opposition

    Philippines will be competing against teams from Qatar, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Uzbekistan and two squads from host Thailand.

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    “Kailangan lang namin pagtrabahuhan ng mg players na naka-lineup. Maganda rin naman na exposure ito para sa team,” he said.

    Alinsunurin and his assistant coaches Dong Dela Cruz and Sherwin Meneses will select the Final 14 from the remaining members of pool, namely team captain John Vic De Guzman, Kim Malabunga, Rex Intal, Francis Saura, Manuel Sumanguid, Josh Retamar, Mark Alfafara, Ricky Marcos, Jao Umandal, Ysay Marasigan, JP Bugaoan, Jessie Lopez, Kim Dayadante, Joeven dela Vega, Jack Kalingking, Ish Polvorosa, Nico Almendras and Lloyd Josafat.

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      The pool will train in a bubble environment starting on Wednesday next week at the University of Assumption gym in San Fernando, Pampanga before leaving for Thailand on October 4.

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