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2019 SEA Games

PMNVT wins first Japan tune-up at expense of Chiba Zelba

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Tiebreaker Times PMNVT wins first Japan tune-up at expense of Chiba Zelba 2019 SEA Games News Volleyball  RanRan Abdilla Philippine Men's National Volleyball Team Marck Espejo Kim Malabunga Joshua Retamar Francis Saura Dante Alinsunurin Chiba Zelba 2019 SEA Games - Volleyball 2019 SEA Games

Playing with a sense of urgency, the Philippine Men’s Volleyball team vanquished Chiba Zelba in a five-set affair, 27-29, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20, to clinch their first victory in four tune-up matches, Sunday, at the Kelai Gakuen High School Gym.

“Siyempre high na ang morale namin ngayon dahil nandito na kami. Hindi kami na-zero ba, ang importante pa rin is ‘yung nanalo kami,” said Philippine team head coach Dante Alinsunurin.

“Malaking bagay ito pagdating sa susunod namin na [tune-up] games, at pagdating sa SEA Games, na etong sitwasyon is nakapanalo kami sa Japan,” he added.

The decorated mentor banked on Marck Espejo, Ran Abdilla, John Vic De Guzman, Kim Malabunga, and Francis Saura to fend off the Division III squad.

Besides huge contributions he got from his usual starters, Alinsunurin also received a significant amount of help from the 19-year old Joshua Retamar, who had his first start in the 16-day Japan camp.

“Nagde-depende kami talaga sa setter ng pasok namin. Sinubukan ko lang talaga na mag-stick sa isang setter kasi based doon sa three games namin, namo-mroblema kami sa blocking sa dulo,” said Alinsunurin.

Retamar’s extended minutes proved to be a difference-maker for the Nationals, as he lifted the defense anchored by Malabunga and Saura to another level.

“Every time na lang maglalaro kami, ‘yun ang problema namin. Ngayon sabi ko, mag-adjust tayo. Subukan natin si Owa [Retamar] kung pwede na si Owa, tapos ayun, nag-adjust,” added Alinsunurin.

The Rebisco-backed spikers will get its much-needed firepower when Oita Miyoshi import Bryan Bagunas joins the team’s practice in Monday. The team will then resume its string of tune-up matches on Tuesday, against FC Tokyo.

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