YOUNG setter Joshua Retamar made a great impact when the Philippine men’s volleyball team made a historic silver medal run in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
The starting playmaker in the previous SEA Games wasn’t complacent and gave his best when he finally returned to action along with 30 hopefuls in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) tryouts for the 20-man pool on Thursday at Subic Gym.
“Ang (naging) mindset ko ay makapag-perform ng maayos sa tryout kasi lahat ng pumunta malalakas at lahat kayang pumasok sa national team. Kaya bawal kampante,” said Retamar, who fought for a spot for the 20-man pool with fellow national team setters Jessie Lopez and Ish Polvorosa as well as Kim Dayandante.
The 5-foot-10 playmaker admitted he struggled coming off a year-long layoff and adapting to the new normal protocols like wearing mask while playing.
“Sobrang hirap para sakin ng tryout kasi wala kami halos lahat sa kondisyon at hirap maglaro dahil kailangan naka-mask nakakailang at hindi makahinga ng ayos,” Retamar said.
“After namin mag-try out masakit pa rin katawan ko kasi kahit nag-work out ako, iba pa rin kapag may training ka na may bola.”
But it was fulfilling for the National University star, who waited for this moment since their ‘three-peat’ bid in UAAP Season 82 got wiped out by the pandemic and he was limited to home workouts and online training sessions for over a year.
Just like other athletes, the 21-year-old setter had a tough time dealing with life without volleyball as he made to the video clips of his UAAP games and the inspiring Philippine men’s volleyball team’s SEA Games silver medal run.
“Naging mahirap kasi hindi naman ako sanay na hindi nakakapag volleyball nung natigil yung UAAP,” Retamar said. “Pinapanood ko na lang sa youtube yung laro namin sa national team at UAAP para may pinag kakaabalahan ako.”
“Nakikipag laro na lang din ako sa pamangkin ko tinuturuan ko sila mag volleyball,” he added.
Retamar is looking to add more moments to those great memories — that held him up this pandemic — once he makes it to the 20-man pool for the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam and play continuously in the national team bubble training starting May 15.
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