Even with decorated playmakers in Jessie Lopez and Ish Polvorosa in his arsenal, Philippine team head coach Dante Alinsunurin opted to go a different route and gave the bulk of the minutes to the 19-year-old Joshua Retamar, Monday.
“Kaya naman talaga namin siya pinasok dahil sa blocking niya at sa sistema.
“Matagal na kasi siya sa NU. Sabi ko, ‘Karapat-dapat ka na nandiyan kaya ikaw yung pinalit ko’,” said Alinsunurin of Retamar, who only joined the team on August to replace Kim Dayandante.
And with the brightest of lights shining on him, the young setter embraced the challenge and made sure to repay the man that gave him the chance to prove his worth to the National team.
With the keys to the team in his hands, Retamar flaunted his all-around brilliance. He tallied 15 excellent sets to go along with 11 huge points built on six blocks, three aces, and two attacks to lead the Philippines’ 29-27, 25-17, 25-17 sweep of Cambodia.
“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.”
The product of Perpetual Help Biñan also credited his mentors, Lopez and Polvorosa, for his fine play.
“During training po, lahat ng kinikilos namin… Lalo na ako, gina-guide po ako ni Kuya Jessie, pati ni Kuya Ish sa mga technique sa pag-atake at kung pano kunin ‘yung diskarte sa middle blocker,” he explained.
And with his first game in the Southeast Asian Games now in the books, Retamar vows to bring out his best in the games to come for the Filipino fans.
“Sobrang saya po kasi unang laro ko sa country po natin. Kailangan ko po talagang gawin ‘yung best. Gagawin ko po ‘yung best ko para sumaya po lahat.”