WITH just barely four months to go, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation has released the 19-player list that it hopes to get its men’s team from that will see action in the Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
The invitees included Bryan Bagunas, Mark Espejo, Ish Polvorosa, Joshua Umandal, Manuel Sumanguid III, John Paul Bugaoan, Chumason Njigha, Cotabato’s Vince Lorenzo, Kim Dayandante, Vince Mangulabnan, Jade Disquitado and Kim Malabunga.
Also being summoned are college players Jann Sumagui, Rwemzel Taguibolos, Leo Ordiales and Joseph Bello of National University, Jay dela Noche of University Santo Tomas, and Noel Kampton and Michael Buddin of La Salle. They have until Feb. 3 to answer the call.
Odjie Mamon has taken over coaching duties from Dante Alinsunurin on the interim as the country seeks to reclaim glory after failing to medal in last year’s Hanoi Games — a defeat that was a stark contrast to the silver medal performance in the 2019 Manila SEA Games.
The women’s squad, for its part, had already started practicing under national women’s mentor Jorge Souza de Brito.
The 17-player pool consists of 15 stars from the Premier Volleyball League including Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez, Jia de Guzman, Tots Carlos, Jema Galanza, Ced Domingo and Kyla Atienza, Choco Mucho’s Cherry Nunag and Kat Tolentino, Chery Tiggo’s Mylene Paat and Cignal’s Angel Cayuna.
Also in the team are PLDT’s Mika Reyes, Kath Arado, Del Palomata and Jules Samonte, Petro Gazz’s MJ Philips and prospects Lea Pelega and Risa Nogales.
The squad will train abroad after the PVL All-Filipino Conference in March, which gives it six weeks to get to train fully. — Joey Villar