UAAP: With Alinsunurin’s support, NU’s Retamar and Almendras mull future
MANILA, Philippines—National University coach Dante Alinsunurin will support graduating players Joshua Retamar and Nico Almendras if they decide to forgo their playing years and take their acts overseas.
After sweeping the UAAP Season 85 men’s volleyball tournament for a historic third straight championship, Alinsunurin admitted that Retamar and Almendras already finished their schooling but they are still eligible to return next season.
If an overseas opportunity opens for the Bulldogs’ pair, the former national team coach will support both of them.
But if both play in a club team in the Philippines, Alinsunurin will sit down and negotiate with his graduating players first as the country has no professional avenue yet for men’s volleyball with Spikers’ Turf being the only prestigious commercial and semi-pro league.
“Kung merong international teams na mag-inquire sa akin, why not pero kung dito lang sa Pilipinas, siguro yung usapan namin medyo mahaba-haba pa para palaruin ko sila,” Alinsunurin revealed after sweeping University of Santo Tomas in Game 2. “Syempre graduate na sila parehas, ayoko naman na ma-stuck lang sila sa school. Ang importante yung magiging buhay din nila paghandaan nila.”
“May mga nag-inquire na pero syempre nag-iintay lang kami ng resulta or desisyon nila kung makukuha sila,” he added.
Retamar, named Finals MVP and Best Setter, trusts Alinsunurin with his career with the two have been together since 2019 in NU and the national team.
“Depende kay coach kasi kami, naghihintay lang din kami. Alam namin yung desisyon ni coach para rin sa future namin, ‘di niya naman kami papatapusin ng UAAP na gusto niya lang,” Retamar said. “Siyempre alam namin yung desisyon ni coach Dante para din sa buhay namin. Hindi lang panay volleyball.”
(It depends to coach and we are still waiting. He knows the right decision for our future and I know that he won’t force us to finish our UAAP careers just because he wants it. We know that coach Dante just wants the best for us not just in volleyball but also in life.)
Almendras, who has been a consistent scorer for the Bulldogs all season long, agreed with Retamar.
“Depende rin kami kay coach sa desisyon niya. Siyempre para din naman sa buhay namin yun e pagtapos namin dito sa UAAP,” Almendras said.
Almendras started playing for NU in Season 81 during Bryan Bagunas’ final season, while Retamar debuted in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the season that led to a three-year hiatus of men’s volleyball.
The NU pair, which also played for the national team, led their team to a successful comeback, ruling the 2022 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference and the V-League men’s Collegiate Challenge before completing a sweep of the UAAP Season 84 with 34 straight wins dating back to 2019.
Alinsunurin has produced one international player in Bagunas, who played for Oita Miyoshi in three Japan V.League seasons before transferring to Taiwan, where he won a championship and MVP.