BRYAN Bagunas is bracing for bigger challenges in his second season as Oita Miyoshi's import in the Japan V.League.
After a five-month hiatus from the sport during the COVID-19 pandemic which he spent in his hometown in Batangas, Bagunas finally rejoined the Weisse Adler on Thursday's practice.
The Philippine men's volleyball team star missed Oita Miyoshi's back-to-back losses to JT Thunder last week while completing his 14-day quarantine.
Bagunas is now cleared to play in a pair of matches on Saturday and Sunday against the unbeaten Panasonic Panthers.
As he prepares to return, the former UAAP MVP is eager to build on what was an impressive rookie season in Japan's premier league.
"Ngayong second year ko na rito siguro mas may alam na ako sa sistema ng bawat team dito so makakapag-perform siguro ako nang mas maayos ngayon," Bagunas told SPIN.ph.
The former National University standout's biggest goal is to help the Weisse Adler rise from last year's woeful 3-24 win-loss record.
"Siyempre maraming team dito may mga bagong import na mas malalakas pa (kaya) sobrang challenging. Ibibigay ko lang yung best ko every game," he said.
Bagunas is once again dedicating every game to his loved ones and Filipino fans, saying he hopes to give them something to cheer about in these trying times.
"Ginagawa ko talaga silang motivation kasi naiwan ko sila dahil dito sa volleyball, pero siyempre para sa kanila din 'tong ginagawa ko rito," Bagunas said. "And sobrang proud ako kasi napaka-supportive ng family and girlfriend ko naman."
He is encouraging all the Pinoy sports fans to keep on supporting him and Jaja Santiago in the V.League as well as Thirdy Ravena, who is also in Japan reinforcing San-en NeoPhoenix in the B.League.
"Sana suportahan nila kaming mga Filipino imports dito sa Japan. Hindi lang ako syempre, 'yung iba din mapa-volleyball or basketball," he said.
"Malaking bagay po para sa amin yung suporta niyo."