JOSHUA Retamar made quite an introduction as the starting setter of the Philippine men’s volleyball team.
Making his debut in the Southeast Asian Games, the 19-year-old setter showed maturity beyond years as he helped the Philippines put away a gritty Cambodia side, 29-27, 25-17, 25-17, on Monday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Retamar was one of the last additions to the squad as a replacement for Kim Dayandante and largely stayed in the shadows of veteran playmakers Ish Polvorosa and Jessie Lopezin the buildup for the SEA Games.
But the incoming sophomore of National University seized his chance to shine on Monday as he scored 11 points to go with 15 excellent sets in the hosts first victory in Pool B play in men's volleyball.
The six-foot playmaker provided six of the 17 team blocks and fired three of the nine team aces. He also delivered the clutch tip and crucial kill block that completed the Filipinos' first-set comeback.
“Sobrang saya ko po. Unang laro ko dito agad sa country natin so kailangan talaga gawin yung best, (kaya patuloy kong) gagawin ko yung best ko para sumaya lahat,” said Retamar.
Philippine team head coach Dante Alinsunurin wasn't surprised by Retamar's fine play.
“Kaya naman talaga namin pinasok dyan dahil sa blocking niya tsaka sa sistema. Matagal na siya sa NU kaya karapat-dapat kang andyan, kaya ikaw yung pinalit ko,” said Alinsunurin.
After a sensational national team debut, Retamar knows they have a long way to go. But he promised not to waste the trust and huge opportunity given by his coaches and teammates.
“Siyempre hindi ko sasayangin,” Retamar said. “Bawat kinikilos namin, lalo na ako, gina-guide po ako ni kuya Jessie pati ni Kuya ish sa mga technique po sa pag-atake tsaka lalo na kung pano kunin yung diskarte ng middle blocker.”