BATANGAS CITY — Ateneo-Motolite rookie Vannie Gandler played down her game-winning block on former Lady Eagles star Alyssa Valdez in their Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference duel against Creamline.
With the Lady Eagles holding on to a 14-12 lead at the Batangas City Coliseum, Creamline went to Valdez - a three-time UAAP MVP who delivered two championships to Ateneo in a memorable college career.
However, Gandler, one of the youngest players of Ateneo, bravely stepped up and stopped Valdez on single coverage to clinch the Lady Eagles' rousing 25-18, 25-20, 15-25, 23-25, 15-12 victory.
“I just stuck to what my coach and teammates told me to get down the line so I followed what they told me,” said the rookie out of De La Salle Zobel after the victory that gave the Lady Eagles a league-best 7-2 record.
Gandler, who had six points including 10 excellent receptions, said she was honored to play against Valdez. But she was quick to deflect the credit to teammates.
“It feels good but of course, it wasn’t me that got the win, it’s my whole team. I wouldn’t have done that without them,” she added.
Valdez, who finished with 32 points including 23 excellent receptions, was left impressed with the audacious rookie.
“Maganda yung (laro) ni Gandler. Sa skills kanina even sa receives nagwo-work siya, palo niya okay,” the four-time league MVP said. “Very brave talaga yung bata and I think more than everything you have to have that character inside you para ma-perform and ma-apply mo lahat ng ginagawa mo sa training sa laro.”
Valdez said Gandler is just one of the players to watch in Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro's stacked lineup.
“Siguro one player to look out eh ang dami pang nasa bench ni Coach O many players to look out for this coming UAAP,” she said.