By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
History has been made.
After leading the Win Streak volleyball club to a terrific playoff journey in the Top League volleyball tournament in Taiwan, Filipino Asian import Bryan Bagunas paid off the trust his team gave him after leading them to the championship title last March 27, 2023.
The superstar outside hitter helped Win Streak finish off the Pingtung Taipower in five grueling sets, 19-25, 25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 15-12, to become the first Filipino to win a volleyball championship in the international scene.
Bagunas followed the footsteps of Jaja Santiago who also made history after becoming the first Filipina volleyball player to clinch a title as an import in Japan after carrying the Ageo Medics against the NEC Red Rockets last March 2021.
The Philippine national team staple member posted All-Star statistics during the championship game and dropped 42 big points built from 39 successful attacks.
Aside from his offensive prowess, Bagunas also recorded two crucial blocks midway in the fourth set and scored one service ace.
It was a back-and-forth affair between the two best volleyball clubs in Taiwan but Bagunas’ relentless attack helped Win Streak grab the much-needed momentum in the last two sets.
Bagunas and Win Streak survived a hot start from the seven-time Top League Kings and were looking to defend their crown successfully when they limited the challengers’ offensive executions with their off-the-charts middle blocking.
However, when Win Streak needed a lift to spark their comeback after going down 0-1, Bagunas stepped up to the bright lights and delivered a performance to remember in Taiwan.
Bagunas’ 42-point outing became one of his best championship performances since becoming a professional volleyball player.
Before taking his talents to Taiwan’s Top League, Bagunas impressed in the Japan Volleyball League for three years and joined Santiago and Marck Espejo as Asian imports in their respective clubs.