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National spikers stay positive

We want leaders who understand our needs.

Bea Micaller



BRYAN Bagunas and the national men’s volleyball team raise concern over the looming change in volleyball leadership. / Photograph by David Cubangbang for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_dvd

The national men’s volleyball team is hoping that they won’t get caught in the political crossfire brought by the looming elections ordered by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

Head coach Dante Alinsunurin and star spiker Bryan Bagunas are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that their program will not be affected by the political showdown among volleyball stakeholders.

The men’s team had a miraculous run in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

After claiming the bronze in the country’s hosting of the 23rd SEA Games in 2005, the squad had been irrelevant in the international arena due to bickering and differences among ranking officials.

Finally, the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) decided to get its acts together and assembled a team that is capable of winning in the biennial meet.

With Bagunas, Johnvic de Guzman and Marck Espejo at the helm, the national spikers dethroned Thailand before bowing to powerhouse Indonesia to settle for the silver medal.

Still, it was a mission accomplished for LVPI, which stressed that its next goal is for the men’s team to win the gold medal in the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi.

But the program is teetering on the brink of destruction as the Philippine Olympic Committee announced that the FIVB is ordering an “open and transparent election” that would pave the way for the creation of a new volleyball federation.

Alinsunurin said they hope that they won’t get affected.

“We hope that whoever would be elected as volleyball officials, our program will still continue, especially now that we have seen the improvement in our performance,” Alinsunurin said.

“We want leaders who understand our needs.”

He admitted that they have no idea on what’s going on politically, but they believe that the program that gave them international honor would still be retained.

“As of now, I am just reading and monitoring the situation. They have yet to inform us of their moves,” the soft-spoken former national team star, said.

“But regarding the continuity of the program, I don’t think it will get affected as long as whoever gets elected has the heart and is knowledgeable about volleyball.”

Bagunas, arguably the country’s best player who now plays as import in the prestigious V.Premier League in Japan, said they have nothing against having a new federation, but they are hoping that the new set of leaders would understand their needs.

“For me, they should elect leaders who have the heart for the athletes and for the sport,” Bagunas, a distinguished spiker from National University, said.