MANILA, Philippines – Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo will spearhead the Philippine men's national team that will compete in the 2019 Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championships from July 4 to 10.
Joining the duo are John Vic De Guzman (PLDT), Mark Alfafara (PLDT), Ranran Abdilla (Air Force), Rex Intal (Cignal), Peter Torres (Cignal), Kim Malabunga (Air Force). Francis Saura (Air Force), Jack Kalingking (Navy), Ricky Marcos (Sta. Elena), Jessie Lopez (Air Force), Kim Dayandante, and Ish Polvorosa.
"Una, naging basis diyan 'yung kakayahan ng mga bata, 'yung pwedeng mabilisan maka-adapt ng mga gusto naming mangyari," said head coach Dante Alinsunurin.
"Fifty-percent naman halos nasa teams ko eh, nasa team ng Air Force saka Sta. Elena. So medyo naadapt talaga 'yung sistema then the rest is nandyan naman si [Marck] Espejo, madali naman mag adapt ng mga pwede naming gawin," he added.
Another factor that the decorated mentor put into consideration in selecting the team is the players' experience in both their professional and international stints.
"Importante kasi sa'kin ‘yung [experience] eh, medyo short kasi ‘yung preparation natin. Dati kasi parang dapat year talaga ‘yung preparation or dapat tuloy tuloy ‘yung liga," said Alinsunurin.
"Ngayon sabi ko nga, kailangan talaga ‘yung experience nila is sobrang haba para pagdating ng SEA games, hindi na kami masyadong baguhan sa laro," he added.
Alinsunurin made it clear, however, that being part of the line-up for the Thailand tilt does not guarantee a spot in the SEA Games roster.
So far, two Thai under-23 squads are also joining the pocket tournament.
The team will head to Thailand on July 3.
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