Mangulabnan, Disquitado unfazed by tough task ahead in SEA Games 2023 – rezal404

Vince Mangulabnan

Vince Mangulabnan during national team training. MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines—Vince Mangulabnan and Jade Disquitado show no fear ahead of a daunting task in their first Philippine men’s volleyball team stint in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games starting on Wednesday in Cambodia.

Slotted in the tough Group A, veteran setter and team captain Mangulabnan vows to fight and avoid being intimidated by defending champion Indonesia as their opening day opponent at Indoor Olympic Stadium as well as the host and reigning bronze medalist Cambodia on Thursday before wrapping up the elimination round against Singapore on the next day.

“Dahil big teams kalaban namin gagawin namin ‘yung 110 percent namin. Lalaban kami hanggang dulo. Hindi kami papaintimidate kahit pa Indonesia, Cambodia or what,” Mangulabnan told as he leads a young and rebuilding national team, which seeks to rise from a fifth place finish last year.

“Sabi nga ni coach Sergio (Veloso), sa loob ng court pantay-pantay yan kung sino lang may strong mind at gusto manalo,” he added.

(Since we are facing strong teams, we will do our 110 percent. We will fight until the end. And we won’t be intimidated regardless if we’re facing Indonesia, Cambodia, or what. As coach Sergio told us, we have equal footing inside the court. It all boils down to who is more determined to win and who has a strong mind.)

Philippine men's national volleyball team

Philippine men’s volleyball team during training. MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER

The 18-year-old Disquitado, the youngest member of the team, agreed with their captain, promising to bring home a medal for the team.

“Iniisip ko pare-parehas lang kami nageensayo, pare-parehas lang kaming tao. Lalaban kami kahit ano mangyari,” said the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference best scorer and top outside hitter. “Sinasabi ko sa sarili ko na gagawin ko lahat ng best ko para makaambag sa team para makuha namin yung gold. Tatry namin makuha.”

(I’m thinking that we’re all the same in preparing for this tournament. We’re all humans. So we will keep on fighting whatever happens. I always tell myself that I will do my best to contribute to the team and try to win gold.)

After training in Taiwan last February and in Japan in the past two weeks, Disquitado is pleased with the team’s bond under the new system of Brazilian coach Sergio Veloso.

“We’re slowly learning the system of coach Sergio. At first, it was hard because one month of training it’s not enough to adapt the system. But now, we are getting it,” said the young spiker in Filipino. “His system is a big help in improving each one’s skills.”

Mangulabnan may be the most seasoned player of this rebuilding team but he is a first-timer, too. Despite lacking experience in the SEA Games, he always makes sure to be a good leader to his teammates and stays open to suggestions, especially from the remaining holdovers of the previous squad Jau Umandal and Manuel Sumanguid.

“I am here to support the young ones to show how brave I am as a player and to lead as a good example to them. I have to translate to them what our coaches want us to do and translate the suggestions of the players to our coaches,” he said in Filipino.

Both newcomers seek to live up to Veloso’s mantra of giving 110 percent when the nationals try to prove themselves and lift the program from its recent adversities and into glory in the SEA Games.


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