They may not have gotten the victory, but there were plenty of positives to take away from Team Rebisco’s performance against the Al-Arabi Sports Club on Sunday night.
This, according to head coach Dante Alinsunurin after the Filipinos absorbed a heartbreaking five-set defeat to the Qatar club at the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Team Rebisco couldn’t protect a 2-1 set lead, and failed to sustain a strong start in the fifth set en route to a 34-26, 26-24, 28-26, 19-25, 12-15 loss. The result dropped them to 0-4 in the pool phase, putting them in a classification for ninth to 10th places in the tournament.
“Everyone definitely performed,” Alinsunurin said, in a report on the federation’s website.
In particular, young spiker Joshua Umandal gave a good account of himself, top-scoring for the Filipinos with 26 points. Veteran Mark Alfafara added 23 points, including three blocks.
Alinsunurin used his entire roster, save for Francis Saura, and they all had their moments in the spotlight in what was Team Rebisco’s most competitive match to date.
“We have been through a lot since 2019, we would have wanted our program to continue nonstop but the pandemic spoiled all our plans,” said Alinsunurin, who steered the Philippines to a historic silver medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“But with the results that we have seen since the first game, I am really contented because the players did everything they can,” he added.
Team Rebisco prepared in a training camp in Lipa a month before the competition, and they are playing without their two top scoring options — Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, both of whom are preparing for their professional seasons in Japan’s V.League.
Yet the absence of their top guns and a short preparation time has not deterred the Filipinos, though they have yet to notch a win in the competition.
“This is our first time stepping in to a tournament of this scale,” said Alinsunurin. “I am really delighted with our team’s performance even when we did not win. We truly have learned a lot.”
Team Rebisco will conclude its campaign on Wednesday against Sri Lanka’s CEB club, with the winner finishing in ninth place.
CEB finished with a 0-4 record in Pool A and failed to win a single set.
Read More: Coach commends Team Rebisco’s gallant stand 2021-10-12 08:30:00