Philippine volleyball

Tai Bundit, Marck Espejo bring ‘Happy Happy’ title drive with new Criss Cross team

JR Isaga

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Tai Bundit, Marck Espejo bring ‘Happy Happy’ title drive with new Criss Cross team

HAPPY HAPPY. The Criss Cross King Crunchers pose for a photo in their introductory press conference

Rebisco/Criss Cross King Crunchers

After enjoying long runs of success in women's volleyball, Rebisco enters the men's game with a bang, debuting the loaded Criss Cross King Crunchers led by superstar Marck Espejo and champion coach Tai Bundit

MANILA, Philippines – The Spikers’ Turf is about to experience a massive power shift this March as the Rebisco company debuts its first-ever men’s club team, the Criss Cross King Crunchers, with a fearsome array of weapons both on the court and on the sidelines.

Aiming to make an immediate impact in the men’s volleyball scene after long dominating the women’s game, Rebisco spared no expense in building a true title contender from the get-go, with superstar spiker Marck Espejo and multi-titled head coach Tai Bundit leading the charge.

Set to lead his first men’s club team in the Philippines, the beloved Thai mentor is bringing back an iconic catchphrase that he intends to imbibe in the King Crunchers’ minds with each practice and game.

“Happy happy!” Bundit immediately belted out to loud applause in the Criss Cross introductory press conference in Ortigas on Saturday, March 1.

“I feel happy because my boss [is] really kind to me. Boss Jonathan [Ng] is really kind to me. I have experience, I will do better in the men’s team [with] Rebisco.”

Joining Bundit and Espejo are a boatload of other proven stars, both from indoor and beach volleyball, like captain Ysay Marasigan, Rex Intal, Kim Malabunga, Jaron Requinton, and Jude Garcia.

Completing the team is a standout mix of veterans, present-day standouts, and prospects, namely Ish Polvorosa, Vince Mangulabnan, Chumason Njigha, Manuel Sumanguid III, Juvie Mangaring, Geuel Asia, Gian Glorioso, Anthony Arbasto, and Philip Bagalay.

High demands, high rewards with Tai Bundit

In separate interviews, players all admitted a common trend with their new mentor: Bundit’s practices are on a whole new level of difficulty, but all worth it in the end.

“If I were to describe coach Tai’s training, it would be hard, but happy,” Intal said in Filipino. “Happy, happy. Even though you’re tired, just smile through it. It’s all happy and good vibes.”

“Coach Tai says you have to be ‘heartstrong,’ and we literally need to be,” Requinton added in Filipino. “His training is not a walk in the park. There are happy moments, but you really need to be strong, heartstrong. That’s all I can say.”

As they await Espejo’s arrival sometime in April from his current import stint in the Korean V. League, the King Crunchers are looking to hold the fort with the crew they currently have as they try to fulfill lofty expectations in their debut conference.

“It’s not going to be easy for us, of course, but we will surely try, even though there aren’t any expectations from management that we should be champions immediately,” Marasigan said in Filipino.

“We will work hard. That’s all I can say. We will work hard,” Malabunga added.

Bundit, however, is not beating around the bush, matching what his new players are already saying about him.

“In my dream, champions,” he declared. –

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