WINNING continued to stay outside the radar for a Rebisco squad wanting in months, if not years, in training as the squad yielded to Qatar’s Emir Cup winners Al-Arabi Sports Club, 19-25, 15-25, 19-25, in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Terminal 21 competition hall on Sunday evening in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Libero Manuel Sumanguid III, who is making his international debut this year, provided a peek of how the team could become as soon as it gets those matches and international exposure to get to the Asian level of competition.
“Everyone is hungry to play and we are doing our very best,” said Sumanguid, who started for the first time in Rebisco’s three matches in its first international exposure since the squad was out together two months ago by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation.
“We are doing a lot of sacrifices with our time and away from our families … you can really see our hunger to excel,” he said. “Every time Coach Dante [Alinsunurin] fields us in, he reminds us to do our best, to grab that opportunity.”
“We’re like a family, we’re like brothers. I am really happy that our bench is full of players who can step up and are willing to work super hard,” he added.
Alinsunurin again dug into his bench and used all but three players with 22-year-old outside hitter Joshua Umandal leading the charge with 17 pts off 15 attacks, one block and one ace.
Alinsinurin was also all praises for veteran playmaker Ish Polvorosa, who stepped in for starter Joshua Retamar.
“Joshua [Retamar] normally starts as our setter but as you can see I called up Ish [Polvorosa] today to do the playmaking,” he said. “I commend his court sense and you really saw how veteran he is when it comes to ball distribution.”
The Qataris, towering with an average height of 6-foot-5, displayed superiority with Brazilian Felipe Bandero making an impromptu service clinic with six aces to finish with 21 points.
The 6-foot-7 Qatari reinforcement also had three blocks, while 6-foot-9 Mohamed Ibrahim and 6-foot-5 Kennedy Chigbo had two blocks apiece.
Al-Arabi SC remained undefeated in two matches.
Rebisco needs to beat Thailand’s Diamond Food at 4:30 p.m. (Manila time) on Monday to assure itself of playing in the classification round for 5th to 8th places. A loss will relegate the Filipinos to the battle for 9th and 10th spots.
JP Bugaoan had two blocks to finish with seven points while skipper John Vic de Guzman chipped in five points for Rebisco.
The national men’s teams participation in the championship is supported the Philippine Sports Commission, Rebisco, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Asics.
Monday’s match will air live on OneSports and OneSports+.