Bagunas off to continue Japan stint, Espejo brings talent to Thailand

Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas are inarguably the two most potent spikers the Philippines has in this era.

Espejo and Bagunas both played in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and steered their respective teams – Ateneo de Manila University and National University – to greater heights in men’s volleyball.

Espejo helped the Blue Eagles achieved a three-peat from Seasons 77 to 79 while Bagunas spoiled Espejo’s team four-peat as he carried the Bulldogs to a back-to-back crown in Season 80 and 81.

It is then a no-brainer that the two are the headliners of the Philippine men’s national team. With their on-point fundamentals, Espejo and Bagunas put back the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games’ podium as silver medalist – an achievement from the 2005 finish of bronze medal.

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But the talents of these men are not only relevant in the home soil as they were tapped to bring their wares overseas – Bagunas to Japan while Espejo to Thailand. Espejo previously played in Japan, the same time where Bagunas is currently playing.

After aiding the tricolors in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the two need to fly overseas to fulfill their commitments to their respective club teams.

In a post-game interview after their finals loss against Indonesia yesterday at the PhilSports Arena, the two shared about their upcoming stints in the international field.

Bagunas said he will immediately fly to Japan today (Wednesday) to train with the Weiss Adlerm Oita Miyoshi as the team faces FC Tokyo come weekend in the 2019-2020 Japanese V. Premier League.

“Babalik na agad ako bukas ng umaga kasi importante ‘yung game namin this weekend kasi home game ‘yun. Makalalaban namin sila sa ranking doon sa home game namin kaya kailangan ko nang bumalik agad sa Japan para mag-training,” said Bagunas, who scored 11 points against Indonesia.

Espejo, meanwhile, bared that he got an invitation to play for the Visakha Volleyball Club in the Thailand Volleyball League this 2020. He is set to fly to Thailand on December 15.

“Before nitong game, may [pinabasa] sa aking article, siguro Thailand na rin ang naglabas. Maglalaro ako sa isang Thai Club, Visakha, [and] aalis na ako this 15 kasi hanggang April [2020 ang season],” Espejo shared.

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Espejo averaged 17.2 points in the five games he played with the Nationals in the 30th SEA Games while Bagunas had 19.6 points.

With their all-around performances, both Espejo and Bagunas will surely carry the flag the best way possible wherever fate may bring them.