Steve Rotter ‘excited’ to help PH return to SEA Games men’s volleyball podium – rezal404

Steve Rother

Steve Rotter during Philippine team training ahead of the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia. MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines—Steve Rotter may have just arrived in the country just a few months ago but he knows what the Philippine men’s volleyball team is capable of in its bid to redeem itself in the upcoming 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

Rotter, one of three Filipino-American recruits by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation, said that their rebuilding roster has what it takes to reclaim the country’s place on the podium and they just need to be on the same page when their campaign begins on Wednesday against defending champion Indonesia at Indoor Olympic Stadium.

“We’re not taking it lightly. We know what’s at stake, we know what are our capabilities and what we can do,” Rotter, who had a two-week training camp with the team in Japan, told “We worked very hard to get to where we are right now. We just have to put the pieces together for the main stage.”

“Japan definitely taught our team a lot. More technical stuff that we needed to work on, taught us how to be a team, do everything together, and taught us how to just be competitive and wanna win. That’s our coach’s way of teaching us,” he added.

The 6-foot-6 opposite spiker, who played for runner-up Cotabato in the Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, is eager to create his own mark for the national team program, which lost the core of the past two editions of the SEA Games after Bryan Bagunas and Marck Espejo begged off and former coach Dante Alinsunurin was let go by the federation.

“I’m excited. I’m just trying to put my mark as a player to everyone’s watching, to show that we’re here to win, I’m here to win and we want a place on that podium,” said Rotter, who was selected from the Fil-Am nation’s tryout in California.

For a first-time national team campaigner, it wasn’t hard for Rotter to get along with his teammates and learn the Philippine volleyball style of play.

“My relationship with the team has been very smooth, everyone’s been welcoming trying to take as much English to me as I can’t really understand any Tagalog,” he said. “Philippine volleyball is definitely different from the US. It’s faster, more trick plays. You always have to look left and right. I’ll never know who they’re gonna set because they’re all over the place. But it helped my game because I’ve now seen a lot of types of offenses. So anything that other countries would throw, hopefully, I’ll be prepared for it.”

Bringing back the team to the podium will be tough for the Nationals as they are also slated with host and reigning bronze medalist Cambodia, which they face on Thursday before wrapping up the elimination round against Singapore the next day. Only the top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals.

“Coach (Sergio Veloso) has talked to pretty highly all of them. They are all good teams,” Rotter said. “Cambodia with the home turf. I’m looking forward to a packed house because that’s what everyone dreams of playing all these high-level teams with everyone watching you.”

Apart from always giving his best effort, Rotter also promises to flash his smile inside the court and exude a positive outlook.

“For the fans you can definitely (expect) a very competitive team but it’s still a little goofy and a little smiling here and there. Because I’m smiling means I’m very positive and having a good time but also in a good headspace,” he said.


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