Rebisco Philippines AVC

Team Rebisco closed its campaign in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on a winning note. Photo from AVC

MANILA, Phillippines—Team Rebisco, which is essentially the men’s national volleyball team, had a bittersweet run in the 2021 AVC Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship winning just one game in five outings.

The Philippines scored a five-set win over Sri Lanka’s CEB Sports Club in the ninth place classification match of the tournament in what became the capper to Joshua Umandal’s inspiring run in the continental tiff.

Without outside spikers Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo, who are playing Japan’s V.League, Team Rebisco relied on the 22-year-old from University of Santo Tomas, who led the Filipinos with 28 points against the Sri Lankans.

Head coach Dante Alinsunurin said that while his team finished with an overall 1-4 record, the 9th place finish is just the start for them.

“This is our first exposure and we hope to become better for the next edition,” said Alinsunurin. “We are hopeful for the continued rise of the level of Philippine volleyball on its return to the international scene.”

The Asian Club Championship was also the team’s first international tournament since its silver medal finish in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, during which Espejo and Bagunas were the main offensive threats while Umandal largely played as a substitute.

National team veteran John Vic de Guzman said playing against the top club teams in Asia proved the team can compete.

“Perhaps the biggest lesson we will take is to pounce on whoever is on the other side whenever we can,” said de Guzman. “After this, I know we need to work on our composure and on our focus on everything we do.”

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