TOKYO – It feels so good for Bryan Bagunas to reunite with the Philippine men’s volleyball team, joining its training camp in the country, where he has been showcasing his talent.
“Siyempre ako sobrang masaya ako kasi nakasama na ulit ako sa training nila iba talaga sa feeling yung sarili mong bansa yung pinaglalaruan mo kaya sobrang excited ako na pumunta dito para makasama sila sa training,” said Bagunas after Monday’s practice at the Sagamitana Highschool Gym.
However, Bagunas could only stay for four days, leading the Nationals in two practices and a pair of tune-up games against FC Tokyo, as he has to return to his mother club, Oita Miyoshi on Friday morning, for Saturday’s Premier V.League.
But the Weisse Adler import vows to make the most of his limited time as it will be his last practice with the Rebisco-backed national team until he comes home to the Philippines on November 30, two days before the 30th Southeast Asian Games volleyball tournament kicks-off.
“Susulitin ko to kasi ito na yung last na makikipagtraining ako sa kanila kasi dadating ako SEA Games na talaga kaya susulitin ko na makapagperform ng maayos at makapagcommunicate sa kanila para pagdating ng SEA Games may maipakita kaming maganda,” the National University star said.
Although he won’t have much time to train with the Filipino Spikers due to his commitment to his Japanese club, Bagunas assured that team chemistry won’t be a problem for him as he already trained with the team for four months before flying to Japan and he is also a product of Dante Alinsunurin’s system.
“Alam naman nila yung nilalaro ko rito kasi napapanood din nila siguro di naman mahirap magadjust kasi yung mga setter naman nakasama ko na last time, four months din ako nakapagtraining sa Pilipinas kaya may communication na rin,” the former UAAP MVP said.
In fact, Bagunas didn’t had a hard time reuniting with his teammates bannered by Marck Espejo, Ranran Abdilla and Johnvic De Guzman as he also noticed that the whole National squad has been getting the Japan’s style of play from their four straight tune-up games against Division 2 clubs.
“Sa ngayon sa nakikita ko, halos talagang may communication na sa isa’t isa tsaka talagang nagkakaisa-isa na,” he said. “Nakita ko yung depensa talagang grabe na rin yung depensa talaga, nagtutulungan sa blockings tas sa floor defense talagang tumaas yung percentage ngayon andaming nagimprove.”
The 6-foot-3 spiker will play his first tune-up match with the Philippines facing Division I team, FC Tokyo, on Tuesday at the Fukagawa Gym, where the team will have its morning practice before their 4 p.m. friendly match.
Bagunas will attend one more team practice on Wednesday before playing his last tune-up against FC Tokyo anew on Thursday.
It may be a short participation in the Nationals’ 16-day training camp made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. and Philippine Sports Commission but Bagunas promised to bring his vastly-improved skills and experience from the Japanese league to help the country win a medal in the SEA Games.
“Kung ano yung natutunan ko dito iaapply ko lang doon then kung anong pwede kong maitulong sa team ibibigay ko and syempre yung best ko ibibigay ko para sa bansa, sa teammates ko and sa coaches,” he said.