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    What Bryan Bagunas told Jao Umandal that enabled breakout performance

    Oct 28, 2021
    Jao Umandal Philippine men's volleyball team
    PHOTO: AVC

    BRYAN Bagunas fueled Jao Umandal’s breakout stint for the Philippine men’s volleyball team in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Thailand two weeks ago.

    Umandal, who stepped up big time in the absence of the two star players including Marck Espejo, revealed that he had a heart-to-heart talk with Bagunas before he left for Japan.

    What Bagunas told Jao Umandal

    “Sabi niya sa akin: Ito na yung chance mo Jao na makapaglaro ka. Pakita mo lang kung ano yung laro mo, gawin mo yung best mo at saka binigyan kayo ng opportunity na makalaro ulit i-grab niyo lang, tuloy lang sa paglalaro kahit maraming nangyayaring hindi maganda,” bared Umandal in Spin.ph’s Zoom In episode on Wednesday.

    “Hindi mo naman masasabi yung dulo kung hindi mo gagawin agad. Kung ano yung nabigay sa'yong role, accept lang at laging panindigan kung ano yung gagawin.”

    Those words of Bagunas lit the desire of the 22-year-old spiker that resulted in his explosive breakthrough in the Asian tilt, where he averaged with 19.4 points in five matches.

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    Jao Umandal Philippine men's volleyball team

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    After he tallied his AVC career-high 28 points to secure ninth place for Rebisco with a five-set win over Sri Lanka’s CEB Sports Club, the young spiker said he received a congratulatory message from Bagunas, who is currently serving as Oita Miyoshi’s import in Japan.

    Aside from the motivational conversation with the hero of their silver medal run in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Umandal said he was so eager to help the team and excited to make the most of the opportunity.

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    That’s why he stepped out of the shadows of Bagunas and Espejo, becoming the team’s biggest revelation in Thailand.

    “Sabi ko sa sarili ko magkakaroon na ako ng playing time na kailangan ko paghirapan talaga, kailangan ko magsikap lalo para yung slot na nakaopen makuha ko,” Umandal said. “Nagsikap ako sa sarili ko na every time na may training ako ibibigay ko yung best ko, lahat gagawin ko para sa opportunity na ibibgay sa'kin nila coach.”

    “Sobrang saya sa feeling na nakalaro ako. Kada pumapalo ako sobrang gaan sa pakiramdam at sobrang saya sa feeling na nakapaglaro ulit ng international,” he added.

    The University of Santo Tomas standout was happy to fulfill what Bagunas told him before the tournament, but learning never stops for him and he’s eager to get even better.

    “Para sa akin sobrang ganda sa pakiramdam pero andoon parin yung point na madami pang kulanng madami pang kailangan iimprove, marami pang kailangan palakasin at baguhin mga kinapos,” he said.

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    “Kung ano yung pinerform ko ngayong AVC, hindi ako makokontento. Kailangan ko pa magstep up. Hindi ko naman pwede sabihin na akin na agad yung isang slot, lahat kami nagtetraining at lahat kami pinaghihirapan yun. Para sa akin, marami pang kailangang improvement at paghihirapan ko talaga yung slot na yun.”

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      With Umandal’s emergence, national team coach Dante Alinsunurin will have a beautiful problem for the three wings spikers position once Espejo and Bagunas return for next year’s loaded calendar including the 31st SEA Games.

      Alinsunurin reiterated that their upcoming training camps next year will be his basis on their spikers’ rotation that also includes team captain John Vic De Guzman and newcomers Isay Marasigan and Nico Almendras as well as pool member Joeven Dela Vega.

      “Kailangan muna magpakita ulit sa training kung ano pa yung pwede nating gawin at paano pa natin iaangat yung team. May basehan sa Asian club pero iba pa rin yung magiging training sa duration ng SEA Games,” he said. “Maganda yung takbo ng team namin kasi alam ko na anytime, kung sino yung kunin ko sa labas, magpeperform.”

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      PHOTO: AVC
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