TOKYO — The Philippine men’s volleyball team took down Chiba Zelba, 27-29, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20, for its first win in four tune-up games on Sunday at the Kelai Gakuen Highschool Gym.
National coach Dante Alinsunurin sticked to a solid six led by the troika of Johnvic De Guzman, Marck Espejo and Ranran Abdilla and they responded with a gritty performance against a Japanese Division 3 side.
“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, adding the victory comes as a major boost in the morale of the Rebisco-backed side.
“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.
Besides the firepower of De Guzman, Espejo and Abdilla, the blocking of the Filipino Spikers also worked wonders as six-foot setter Joshua Retamar got his first start and helped middle blockers Kim Malabunga and Francis Saura at the net.
“Based doon sa three games namin namomroblema kami sa blocking sa dulo. Ngayon sabi ko mag-adjust tayo, subukan natin si Joshua kung pwede, ayun nag-adjust,” Alinsunurin said.
The Nationals also showed a great communication inside the court that resulted in a smooth transition from defense to offense with liberos Jack Kalingking and Ricky Marcos taking care of the floor defense.
The men’s national team is set to get another boost in its 16-day training camp, made possible by Larong Volleyball Sa Pilipinas Inc. and Philippine Sports Commission, as Oita Miyoshi Filipino star Bryan Bagunas will join the team starting in Monday’s practice.