MANILA, Philippines — National University coach Dante Alinsunurin was hardly surprised by Bryan Bagunas’ historic first season with WinStreak in Taiwan’s Top Volleyball League.
Alinsunurin, who coached Bagunas since college, knew that the 6-foot-5 spiker would make waves in his professional career as he has been hardworking since arriving at NU nine years ago.
“I am so proud of my player for all of his achievements. I know that he is really pushing himself to his limits since he was still playing at NU. That’s why he achieved those things” Alinsunurin told Inquirer Sports in Filipino.
“The whole NU team and community is proud of his achievements and I hope his career will continue to grow,” he added.
WATCH: NU coach Dante Alinsunurin on Bryan Bagunas’ historic Taiwan stint. | @LanceAgcaoilINQ pic.twitter.com/My8d236L3S
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Bagunas was named as TVL MVP and delivered WinStreak’s maiden championship after scoring a career-high 42 points last week in a do-or-die Finals Game 3, dethroning the Pingtung Taipower in their third consecutive game day.
“Since NU, he’s been all out and disciplined when it comes to training and even after practice. So I knew that he’d go to places after college because of his work ethic. He’s still doing his routine up until now and putting a premium on his condition,” said the former Philippine men’s volleyball team coach.
The 25-year-old Bagunas, who played for Oita Miyoshi in Japan V.League for three seasons, scored a total of 520 points in TVL’s regular season, nailing 453 attacks, 40 blocks, and 27 aces.
Alinsunurin, who steered the men’s national team to a historic silver medal with Bagunas in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, hopes the Batangueno spiker will continue to inspire the youth and continue to break the ground overseas for more Filipino volleyball players.
“His achievements didn’t only make NU proud but the whole Philippines. I hope he will continue to inspire more players and take Philippine volleyball to greater heights so we will be recognized in the international scene,” he said.
Alinsunurin is also hoping for the best for his former players from the national team, Marck Espejo, Jau Umandal, JP Bugaoan, and Manuel Sumanguid, who will tryout for the Asian Quota of the Korean V-League on April 25 in Jeju Island.
“As a coach who once handled them, I am so proud of them just like other Filipino volleyball players who are also dreaming. I hope they will make it so more of our players will see action overseas which will help the Philippine men’s volleyball program,” he said.
Alinsunurin, who was removed from the national team post last January, is focused on NU’s ‘three-peat’ bid in the UAAP men’s volleyball tournament as they won nine games and haven’t lost 27 straight matches dating back to 2019.
Bagunas and Espejo begged off from playing for the country in the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia, while Umandal is the lone member of the 2019 team as he leads a rebuilding squad under Brazilian Sergio Veloso.
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