SEA Games: New kid Retamar makes outstanding debut

Mark Escarlote on Dec 02, 2019 09:23 PM
SEA Games: New kid Retamar makes outstanding debut
Joshua Retamar and Marck Espejo shared a light moment after the Philippines' straight sets win over Cambodia in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

As expected, veteran Marck Espejo took the spotlight in the Philippine men’s volleyball team’s resounding opening day win in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, but it was the youngest member of the squad who turned heads as the new talk of the town.

At 19, Joshua Retamar debuted in the biennial meet with a performance to remember, one that could arguably rival the return of Espejo for the tricolors after a four-year absence.

While Espejo hammered his way to 21 points in the Nationals’ 29-27, 25-17, 25-17, win over Cambodia it was Retamar who cemented the brick wall of the Filipinos’ defense all while orchestrating the team’s offensive flow.

“Sobrang saya po kasi unang laro ko sa country po natin,” said the incoming National University sophomore. “Kailangan ko po talagang gawin ‘yung best [ko]. Gagawin ko po ‘yung best ko para sumaya po lahat.”

Retamar, who is no stranger to big roles after steering the Bulldogs to its second straight UAAP title months back as replacement for NU’s ineligible playmaker Kim Dayandante, tallied 15 excellent sets to help the PHI score 37 spikes.

But it was his blocking that vaulted him to newfound fame.

“Kaya naman talaga namin siya pinasok dahil sa blocking niya at sa sistema,” said PHI team head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who chose to give his young gun the bulk of playmaking chores, only subbing veteran Jessie Lopez in the first set while keeping playmaker Ish Polvorosa on the bench the whole game.

Retamar responded with a huge game highlighted by a crucial kill block to end the extended first set.  

“For me po ginawa ko lang po ‘yun part ko. ‘Yung itinuro po sa akin ni coach lalo na po sa blockings,” he said. “’Yung adjustment po namin dumedepende po kami sa mga attacks po nila kung paano po sila umaatake doon kami naga-adjust kaya ayan po kinalabasan.

But the kid was quick to credit his senior setters for sharing their knowledge,

“Siyempre po di ko po sasayangin, pero 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 said.

Retamar and the Nationals will take on Vietnam on Wednesday.

 

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles

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