TOKYO — Bryan Bagunas confidently parted ways with the Philippine men’s volleyball team, believing he made the most of his short 30th Southeast Asian Games build-up.
Despite his short stay in the 16-day training camp — a pair of tune-up games against Tokyo and two team practices, it helped Bagunas to build chemistry with his teammates after rejoining the Rebisco-backed squad from being four months away.
“Parang alam ko ulit yung sistema nila and nasasabayan ko ulit yung tempo ng laro nila,” he said. “Malaking bagay sa akin kasi siyempre iba yung bago kayo maglaro sa SEA Games nagkasama sama kayo sa training.“
The 6-foot-3 outside spiker left Hotel Route-Inn Sagamihara on Friday morning for his mother club, Oita Miyoshi and he is set to fly back to Philippines on November 30, three days before the biennial volleyball tournament begins.
“Syempre nandoon yung worry pero siyempre gagawin ko yung best ko para makasabay sa kanila and makuha ko ulit yung tempo ng laro nila. Pipilitin ko para sa Pilipinas,” Bagunas said.
National team head coach Dante Alinsunurin said the short stint of Bagunas in the 16-day training camp, made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc and Philippine Sports Commission, won’t be a problem as his former player from National University has been showcasing his talent in Japan, which is a great exposure before the SEA Games.
“Yung sistema na gusto namin mangyari alam na alam niya,” Alinsunurin said. “Player ko siya dati then yung sa Japan na naglalaro siya dito, yung sistema naman sa Japan yun din naman yung tinitignan ko and yung inaadapt ko na sistema para sa national team.”
As the former UAAP MVP continues to live his dream as Weisse Adler’s import, he can’t deny that he misses his family as well as going to catholic church and the Filipino dishes.
“Mahirap talaga yung mapalayo sa pamilya pero siyempre pangarap kailangan mo talagang tiyagain. Talagang tiis tiis lang para sa future,” Bagunas said.
“Andito na yung pangarap ko e kakapitan ko na to kaya ayun tuloy tuloy lang sana,” he added.
Far from home, Bagunas, who emerged as one of the top hitters so far in the Japan V. League, is enjoying this golden opportunity with the help of his accommodating Japanese teammates and coaches.
“Ngayon nakakaintindi na ako ng konting salita ng Japanese at yung basic ng Japanese nakakasalita na ako meron namang translator e,” he said. “Hindi mahirap kasi yung sistema namin sa NU halos same lang.”
As he comes back to the country for SEA Games, all eyes will be on Bagunas to help the Nationals end their medal drought but all he can promise is to give his best and apply all the learnings he got from playing for Japan.
“Siyempre asahan nilang ibibigay ko yung best ko and syempre bawat laro bubuhos ko talaga yung best ko para sa Pilipinas,”Bagunas said.