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Retamar eyes UAAP defense as NU gears up for tough challenge from improved UST


Joshua Retamar is a champion again in the Spikers’ Turf and this time, it was so much sweeter as he and National U-Sta. Elena needed to survive challenges after challenges to hoist the 2023 Invitational Conference trophy.

The Nationals mustered all their strength, composure, and mental toughness to outgun the Cignal HD Spikers in five sets, 22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 15-8 in the one-off Final on Friday evening at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

“Syempre sobrang sarap pero bago namin nakuha ito, sobrang hirap din,” said the former national team setter on their second championship in the country’s men’s premier league.

Retamar joined the team late along with Nico Almendras after being granted by head coach Dante Alinsunurin for more rest after their championship run in the UAAP last May.

Then the moment he came back, he hurt his leg during practice, causing him to miss some games in the pool play where National U finished with a 4-1 record to gain top seed in Group A.

Michaelo Buddin, one of the team’s top aces, also got hurt during their quarterfinal matchup against PGJC-Navy to miss the rest of the conference.

But during those hard times was when the Nationals also found strength from one another.

“Nagstart kasi ako na may injury agad ako, injury si Buddin, si Nico syempre bagong balik minsan lang nagti-training,” shared the 6-foot-1 playmaker.

“Sobrang saya kasi alam ko na lahat magpeperform and kinausap ko nga sila na magready lahat kasi lahat pwedeng gamitin para makapagcontribute sa game ngayon.”

With a championship in the bag, Retamar, who just announced that he will run it back with NU in the UAAP Season 86 men’s volleyball tournament, looks forward to defending their crown in the collegiate league.

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And as early as now, he is already encircling University of Santo Tomas come the UAAP.

The Golden Spikers were the runners-up to the Bulldogs in Season 85 but they showed improvements in the offseason.

“Syempre alam naman natin UST nagimprove din, lumakas sila. So paghahandaan namin sila,” said the NU captain.

UST joined the 2023 V-League Men’s Collegiate Challenge and emerged as the silver medalists after bowing to De La Salle University in the best-of-three Finals.

Then they skipped the Spikers’ Turf to focus on the PNVF Challenge Cup, where the Golden Spikers also beat Cignal in the knockout title game in five sets, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 15-13 just last November 25.

In the semifinals, UST downed NU in four sets, 25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24.

“Nasabi ko nga may problema pa talaga yung team namin na binubuo namin, magpeperform kami nang maayos sa UAAP yun na ang paghahandaan namin, wala na kaming ibang focus yun lang.”

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.


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