By Betheena Unite
The Philippine men’s volleyball team rode on its momentum to remain unscathed in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the expense of Vietnam Wednesday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Behind powerful hits and stellar defense, the Nationals completed a sweep 25-20, 25-21, 25-12 over the 2017 SEA Games bronze medalist for their second straight win.
Bryan Bagunas led the Philippines with 22 points off 17 attacks and three service aces. Mark Espejo, John Vic de Guzman, Kim Harold Malabunga and Francis Saura combined for 34 points.
Leading by two sets, the Philippine squad started the third frame with a 6-1 run.
The Filipino spikers pulled away when setter Joshua Retamar, who chipped in four points and dished off 17 excellent sets, blocked Vietnam’s attack to help PH lead by 11, 14-3.
National team head coach Dante Alinsunurin said their months-long training was crucial.
“Goal talaga namin na talunin kung sino man ang makaharap namin. Yung ginawa naming practice mula March, nag-usap kami na kailangan ngayon tayo naman ang mapanood ng mga tao na nananalo,” Alinsunurin said.
De Guzman, national team captain, said work has just begun for them.
“Nung una pa lang, nag-practice kami ang pinaka-target na namin is gold pero gaya nga ng sabi ni coach marami pa kaming pagdadaanan. Kumbaga mag-scout pa kami, mag-training pa kami nang mas maayos, mas double time kami sa practice saka siguro yung teamwork ma-maintain namin pagdating ng semifinals kasi alam naman namin na yung mga makakalaban namin lagi silang nasa top e,” he said.
“Kaya itong Vietnam natalo namin sobrang saya kami kasi laging nasa semifinals ang Vietnam e kasama ng Indonesia at Thailand, kaya sobrang happy kami at sana magamit namin ‘tong morale na ‘to pagdating ng semifinals.”
The Philippines and Indonesia, both unbeaten, clash on Friday.