MARCK Espejo finally got a club league championship after leading Cignal in exacting sweet revenge on rivals Bryan Bagunas and Gold-Air Force in the 2019 Spikers’ Turf Reinforced Conference.
It felt so sweet for Espejo to raise a championship trophy again after two years, which marked his first championship in his post-collegiate career since steering Ateneo to a UAAP three-peat from 2015 to 2017.
“Sobrang saya, na-miss ko yung feeling. Tapos kasama ko pa mga Ateneo teammates ko before,” said Espejo. “Worth it lahat ng pinaghirapan namin. First championship ko rin ‘to with Cignal and hopefully sa ibang tournaments pa.”
The Ateneo star lost in his final playing year in the UAAP Finals to Bagunas, who led National University in stopping the Blue Eagles’ dynasty before powering the Jet Spikers in taking down the HD Spikers in the 2018 Reinforced Conference championship that sent off Espejo on a losing note for his import stint in Japan.
This time, Espejo returned the favor to Bagunas, who will suit up as the Asian import of Oita Miyoshi for this season, as Cignal completed a two-game Finals sweep of Go for Gold-Air Force.
But from a national team star to another, Espejo gives his advice to Bagunas, who is set to become the next Pinoy Weisse Adler starting in October.
“Kakayanin naman ni Bryan yun and yung teammates naman, management and coaches sobrang maalaga talaga sa players,” said Espejo, who turned heads in Japan V. Premier league last year despite his team’s four wins in 27 outings. “As in time to time tatanungin ka nila kung okay ka lang tapos ilalabas ka nila so hindi siya problema para kay Bryan.”
The star outside hitter admitted that language barrier will be a problem for Bagunas but he told his rival-turned-national squad teammate to use volleyball as a language as he teams up with Japanese spikers
“Ako nung una siyempre may language barrier pero pag mahal mo naman yung sport kahit sabihin mong konting hand gestures lang or turo. Parang kahit na hindi kayo na nakapagverbal communication sa action niyo makakapagusap kayo at makakapagintindihan kayo,” Espejo said.
Espejo is looking forward to Bagunas’s stint in Japan as the NU star is set to leave this final week of July. Both stars are also eyeing a reunion in the 30th Southeast Asian Games from November 30 to December 10 in the Philippines.
For now, the Spikers’ Turf Finals MVP, who averaged 23.5 points and 21 receptions in the best-of-three Finals series playing though shoulder injury, will continue the rehab of his injury before the Open Conference begins in three weeks and their upcoming training camp for the national team in Thailand and Japan.