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SEA Games: PH men’s volleyball team guns for finals seat over defending champ Thailand

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By Betheena Unite

The Philippine men’s volleyball team will try to regain their tight defense in a bid to dethrone defending champion Thailand in the semifinals match of the 30th Southeast Asian Games men’s volleyball tournament at the Philsports Arena at 6 pm Sunday.

In this file photo, Bryan Bagunas, center, soars to attack against Vietnamese blockers in men's volleyball in the 30th Southeast Asian. (MB Photo / Alvin Kasiban)

In this file photo, Bryan Bagunas, center, soars to attack against Vietnamese blockers in men’s volleyball in the 30th Southeast Asian. (MB Photo / Alvin Kasiban)

After succumbing to Indonesia’s strong showing in three sets in their final match in the preliminaries, the nationals vowed to get on back on track, regain their unforgiving defense, to end the reign of the second winningest team in SEA Games men’s volleyball.

“Kailangan lang namin uling pag-aralan yung laro ng Thailand at siyempre kailangan din naming balikan kung ano yung mga pagkukulang namin in this game, especially yung blockings and defense, saka yung service and receive, kailangan naming maibalik yun sa Thailand para kahit paano mailaban namin sa semifinals,” skipper John Vic De Guzman said after losing to Indonesia.

They were the receiving end of Indonesia’s stringent defense, capped with a 10-1 block advantage Friday night.

Going up against their familiar foes, the nationals said their blockings, services, and receives will be crucial.

“Siguro hindi lang namin na-maximize yung service at blockings namin kasi sa past two games namin dun kami maraming nakakuha ng score sa service at blocking namin,” one of the team’s top gunners Mark Espejo said. “Familiar na kami sa Thailand kasi sila yung gauge namin,e dahil laging nagcha-champion sa SEA Games.”

National team head coach Dante Alinsunurin also pointed out that they will be needing much focus against Thailland, saying that the team’s communication inside the court should prevail.

“Yung mga miscommunication namin sa loob ng court at siguro tutok kami dun and kailangan talaga isa-isahin namin kung bakit kami natalo ngayon. Kailangan pa naming magsumikap pa,” Alinsunurin said.

“Basta gawin lang namin yung best namin every time na naglalro kami. Kailangan lang talaga mag-adjust lagi in every situation inside the court and taasan lang talaga ng porsyento yung service, receive namin kasi yun talaga panghahawakan namin,e,” he added.

Bryan Bagunas, who has been leading the national team’s attack, said that their composure inside the court will play a big role especially against Thailand, who have several championship experiences under their belt.

“Kailangan pa talaga naming i-compose yung sarili namin sa loob ng court para mabigay namin yung best namin,” Bagunas said. “Focus lang lagi sa laro at sundin lang yung sistema ng team.”

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