Bryan Bagunas

FILE – The Philippines’ Bryan Bagunas during the 2019 SEA Games against Vietnam. INQUIRER PHOTO/August dela Cruz

MANILA, Philippines — Bryan Bagunas will miss the Philippine men’s volleyball team’s stint in the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games in May for the first time in six years due to his upcoming wedding in June.

The 6-foot-5 outside spiker bared to Inquirer Sports that he already informed the Philippine National Volleyball Federation on Thursday about his withdrawal from the national team.

“Ikakasal na kasi ako pag kinakasal may preparation pa rin. Hindi naman basta ikakasal lang kasi may mga seminar pa rin ako dapat na aattendan then dadating ako diyan most likely April na and parang hirap i-singit talaga kasi marriage importante naman talaga to sa lahat ng tao diba,” said Bagunas in a phone call.

(I’m getting married soon and there will be a lot of preparations. A wedding requires a lot of seminars and I will arrive in the Philippines most likely in April. It will be hard for me to make time [for the national team]. Marriage is really important for every people.)

“I want to give my 100 percent to our special occasion because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” he added in Filipino.

The 25-year-old Bagunas said that the PNVF acknowledged that it received his letter.

The former UAAP MVP, who has been representing the country since the 2017 SEA Games, got engaged to her longtime girlfriend Nicole Tracy Tan on April 22 last year.

Bagunas cleared that begging off from the national team has nothing to do with the removal of coach Dante Alinsunurin, stressing he is willing to play for whoever will handle the squad. 

In fact, the former National University star told Alinsunurin and his staff that his participation in the biennial meet is uncertain due to his wedding.

“I told [the PNVF] that it’s not about the removal of coach Dante. Actually, after I proposed and when we already set the date of our wedding, I told coach Dante right away that [my availability] next SEA Games is 50:50,” said Bagunas. “I have high respect for coach Odjie [Mamon] and other coaches. I am willing to play whoever will coach the team. It’s just that our wedding is in June.”

“I hope the PNVF understands,” he added. “I also wrote in my letter that after my wedding and if there will be any tournaments for the national team. I am willing to serve the Philippines as long as I am available but as of now, it’s hard to make time for it. This is once in a lifetime.”

Bagunas is currently in Taiwan playing for Win Streak in the ongoing Top Volleyball League until March. He also committed to play for Imus in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf.

Sources revealed the 19-man training pool, which includes Bagunas. But the PNVF said in a statement last Tuesday that nothing is official and it will be making an announcement with regard to the roster soon.

Odjie Mamon was tapped as Alinsunurin’s replacement on an interim basis with Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso will take over after the SEA Games.

Bagunas, a former Japan V.League import, expressed his full support to the national team, hoping for a podium finish even without him.

“I wish them all the best. Even if I won’t be there to play, I am giving my full support to the Philippines as a Filipino. Philippine volleyball is not just about one person, it’s for everyone. Whatever the team will achieve this SEA Games it’s for the whole volleyball community and our country,” Bagunas said.


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