Rookie in a hurry

December 03, 2019

THE spotlight may be on Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, but it was the 19-year-old Joshua Retamar that shone the brightest in the Philippines’ 29-27, 25-22, 25-21 opening day victory over Cambodia Monday in the 30th Southeast Asian Games men’s volleyball.

Retamar, who only joined the team in August to replace Kim Dayandante, tallied six of the Filipinos’ 17 blocks that keyed their winning start in Pool B.

“Kaya naman talaga namin siya pinasok dahil sa blocking niya at sa sistema,” said national coach Dante Alinsunurin of Retamar.

In a team that has decorated playmakers in Jessie Lopez and Ish Polvorosa, Alinsunurin turned to Dayadante, who tossed in 15 excellent sets to go with three service aces and two attacks.

“Matagal na kasi siya sa NU. Sabi ko, ‘Karapat-dapat ka na nandiyan kaya ikaw yung pinalit ko’,” said Alinsunurin.

“For me po, ginawa ko lang po ‘yun part ko yung tinuro po sa akin ni coach, lalo na po sa blockings,” said Retamar.

“‘Yung adjustment po namin dumedepende po kami sa mga attacks po nila. Kung paano po sila umaatake doon kami nag-aadjust kaya ayan po kinalabasan.”

Espejo led the Philippines with 21 points, including four service aces, eight receptions and three digs while Bagunas had four blocks to finish with 14 points.

Surviving a tough Cambodian challenge in the opening frame, the Nationals were in control in the next two to prevail, as Alinsunurin was satisfied the way his troops followed the game plan to the letter.

“Natuwa ako kasi talagang ‘yung sistema namin na talagang tinuturo sa mga bata eh nandoon. Kasi sabi ko nga yun lang ‘yung talagang pwede naming baguhin, kasi sa tagal na naming naglalaro sa National team, talagang yung sistema namin sa block hindi talaga namin makuha-kuha,” said Alinsunurin.