Cedric Legrand, the Australian import who suited up for the country in the recent Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship, is the latest foreigner to give the country a thumbs up sign, saying the Philippines is one of the best he’s been to as a globe-trotting player.
Following his short stint with the Power Pinoys in the eight-day tournament along with fellow Aussie William Lewis, Legrand admitted he has come to love not only the country but the Filipino people as well.
With the support from his teammates and fans in his stint in the eight-day tournament, the 26-year-old spiker, who has also played in Vietnam, New Caledonia and Europe, has come to love not just the country but the people as well.
“Philippines is one of the best countries I've been,” said the 26-year-old Legrand. “In terms of having fun, it's the best - volleyball, the people, everything.”
“They're like my happy family, my teammates are my brothers now,” he added.
Despite the Power Pinoys’ seventh place finish in the tournament, Legrand sees a lot of potential for the team, which joined an international tournament for the first time in a long while.
Gauging the team's performance since the first time it played against Mongolia in the elimination round, the Australian noted the Power Pinoys are relatively young and still has a lot to learn, yet he remains happy with whatever they achieved.
“To be honest it's a very young team and inexperienced,” he said. “And this tournament is going to help. From the first game that we played until now, we had big improvements, to think we are fighting against taller players.”
“It's a really good experience, it's the first time to be in the Top 8, it's good for the country,” he added.
He also praised local teammates Ranran Abdilla and Jeffrey Malabanan, who played impressively for the Power Pinoys.
Abdilla poured in 25 points in the team’s win against Lebanon, while Malabanan did damage down the stretch during the same game.
Legrand knows that given a few more years, the country's volleyball prowess will improve, given the talent of Filipinos in the sport.
“There is good talent in the Philippines, there is a bright future for the team,” he said. “Ranran is one of the star players, he is young but he can lead the team, Jeffrey as well, who is a very dynamic player to watch. As long as we get more exposure, they will learn and they will be a better team.
“Give it more time, the team will get better, this is just a stepping stone.”
But before he goes back Down Under, Legrand would not miss the chance of trying out the world-class Boracay beach.
“I hear about Boracay all the time,” he said with much excitement. “That's definitely in my list, I wanna party all day. And when I came home I will tell everybody about everything in the Philippines.”