Philippine national men’s volleyball team head coach Dante Alinsunurin stuck with his battle-tested players and an up-and-coming playmaker to carve out a morale-boosting win over Chiba Zelba, 27-29, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20, on Sunday in a tune-up match at the Kelai Gakuen High School Gym.
Setter Joshua Retamar worked wonders piloting the offense of the Nationals, who made great strides in their Japan training camp made possible by Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the Philippine Sports Commission as they build up for the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila next month.
The playmaker from National University made wingers Marck Espejo, Ranran Abdilla and skipper John Vic De Guzman look good, utilizing the firepower of the Nationals while Kim Malabunga, Francis Saura and liberos Jack Kalingking and Ricky Marcos, who rotated on floor defense, played their roles well for the team’s first win in four straight tune-up matches.
“Nagdedepende kami talaga sa setter. Sinubukan ko lang talaga na mag-stick sa isang setter kasi based doon sa three games namin namomroblema kami sa blocking sa dulo,” said Alinsunurin. “Every time na lang maglalaro kami yun ang problema namin. Ngayon sabi ko mag-adjust tayo subukan natin si Owa kung pwede na si Owa tapos ayun nag-adjust.”
The Filipinos showed great chemistry inside the court and their communication was key to their success.
They left the gym with wide smiles on their faces knowing that they’re moving on the right track.
“Siyempre high na ang morale namin ngayon dahil nandito kami. Hindi kami na-zero ba, ang importante pa rin is yung nanalo kami,” said 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.”