AFTER Jao Umandal’s breakthrough performance for the Philippine men’s volleyball team, coach Dante Alinsunurin has to solve a beautiful problem in the two outside spiker positions once Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas return.
What happens to Jao Umandal when Bagunas, Espejo return?
Umandal rose to the occasion in the absence of the two Japan V. League imports as he led Rebisco Philippines, norming 19.4 points in five games, in its ninth-place finish in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship.
Alinsunurin knew that the 22-year-old spiker would be a revelation in the continental meet after witnessing his hard work in trainings.
“Si Jao kasi masipag talaga yan sa training kaya confident ako na mag step up siya during the entire competition,” he told Spin.ph. “Kung ano man yung pinakita ni Jao during the entire league is result yun ng hard work niya during the training.”
Umandal, who saw limited action in the team’s silver-medal finish in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, stepped out of the shadows of Espejo and Bagunas in their first tournament after a long layoff due to the pandemic.
With Umandal emerging as a go-to scorer for the Filipino Spikers, Alinsunurin will have a beautiful problem in the two open spikers slots once Bagunas and Espejo rejoin the team in future tournaments including the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam next year.
The national team coach said that he has yet to discuss it with his staff and it will still depend on their trainings.
“Sa ngyon hindi pa namin napapagusapan yan ng coaching staff, nagdedepende pa rin naman sa maging training namin,” he said.
But Umandal’s breakthrough stint only proved to Alinsunurin that he can contribute regardless if he’s an outside or opposite spiker.
“Based dun sa performance niya sa Asian Club, malaki magiging contribution niya kahit anong position siya ilagay,” he said.
Besides Umandal, Alinsunurin also lauded mainstay Mark Alfafara and new members Ysay Marasigan, Nico Almendras, JP Bugaoan and Manuel Sumanguid in their fruitful Asian Club stint.
“Nagstep up talaga sa team ay sila Jao Umandal at Mark Alfafara at syempre malaking tulong din ang apat na bagong pasok sa team, Bugaoan, Almendras, Marasigan at Sumanguid. Pero lahat nagperform based kung ano role nila sa team,” he said.
The Philippine men’s volleyball team is eager to keep its momentum going as it seeks to hold scrimmages against the competing teams in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League in November.
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