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    Alfafara insists Asian Club tilt showed PH spikers no longer pushovers

    Oct 28, 2021
    Mark Alfafara national team
    PHOTO: AVC

    MARK Alfafara said the Philippine men’s volleyball team was able to show that it belongs to continental competition after putting up a gallant stand in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship.

    Rebisco Philippines placed ninth out of 10 teams with one victory in five matches in its first tournament in this pandemic two weeks ago in Thailand.

    For Alfafara, the Filipino Spikers were able to show that they are no longer pushovers in the Asian level despite the limited preparation caused by the pandemic and missing their stars Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas.

    “Hindi kami basta lang na sinasabi nila pag Pilipinas, bugbog agad. Hindi ganun, nakita mo yung potential ng Philippine volleyball sa men’s and nakita ng mga tao kung ano yung sistema na ininstill sa amin ni coach Dante (Alinsunurin),” he said in Spin.ph’s Zoom In.

    “Though maiksi yung preparation namin, nakapagbigay na kami ng stand na hindi na kami basta basta lang Philippine men’s volleyball team.”

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    Mark Alfafara national team

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    The reigning Southeast Asian Games silver medalist gave a hell of a fight against teams from Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Thailand before scoring a five-set victory over CEB Sports Club of Sri Lanka to avoid a last place finish.

    Mark Alfafara emerges as one of top scorers

    Alfafara, who had limited action in the SEA Games, stepped up with rising star Jao Umandal as the go-to scorers of the team.

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    The University of Santo Tomas standout bared that since the start of their bubble training in Laoag last July, their coach Dante Alinsunurin told him that it will be a challenging task for him since Bagunas and Espejo are in Japan.

    “That time na sinabi nya lang sa'kin alam ko yung feeling na may pressure pero mas nanaig yung excitement. Break ko ito kumbaga, ito yung pinakatime na pwede ako magexcel pero ang motivation ko lang doon eto na yung chance eh sasayangin ko pa ba?” Alfafara said.

    The 27-year-old spiker was so eager to make up for the team’s lost time after the pandemic stopped their momentum from the SEA Games, their last competition before AVC.

    That’s why they showed no signs of intimidation and flaunted their might against world-class opponents.

    “Andito na e. Pinigil na kami ng pandemic for two years tapos eto yung chance. Mamimili pa rin ba ng kalaban? So sa amin nung time na yun, sige kahit sino yan kahit gaano pa ka-laki. Sabi nga namin maliit kami pero nakakapuwing pa rin,” Alfafara said.

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    “Lalaban kami hanggang dulo kahit ano mangyari, kahit nakakapagod kahit sobrang hirap pumuntos kasi ang lalaki nga. Try and try paulit ulit sinabi ni coach Dante sa amin.”

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      It was a baptism of fire in the Asian stage but it was a memorable experience for Alfafara, who is now more inspired to be better in their future tournaments.

      “Yun yung pinaka the best experience para sa akin so far. Sabi ko habang buhay ko iche-cherish ‘to,” he said.

      The prolific outside spiker and his team are hoping to keep their momentum going with one more training camp before the year ends for their busy 2022 calendar, where they eye the SEA Games gold.

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      PHOTO: AVC
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