ATENEO-Motolite rookie sensation Vanie Gandler is honored by all the praises she has been getting in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference and she promises not to let her team down for the rest of their fruitful stint.
The rookie spiker dropped a game-high 12 points on top of a great defensive effort with eight digs and six excellent receptions to lead the Lady Eagles in turning back Iriga-Navy Lady Oragons, 25-17, 25-19, 25-22, on Sunday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Gandler, the freshman who has been starting and playing a lot of minutes for the team, attributed her improvement to the trainings and learnings from head coach Oliver Almadro.
“(It) feels good, hard work in training pays off, I guess. Coach O just always reminds us to have a good attitude,” said the blue-chip recruit out of De La Salle Zobel High School.
The 18-year-old introduced herself in the league with her audacity, which impressed Alyssa Valdez of Creamline after the former Ateneo star saw her attack get blocked by the rookie to seal the win in five sets in their second round showdown last week in Batangas City.
The young outside hitter has been matching the intensity of club team players in every game even though she’s just a newbie. And although sometimes she feels the pressure, she overcomes it through her eagerness to help the team.
“Well, I felt the pressure ever since the start because being the only rookie on the court always is kinda pressuring,” the young outside hitter said. “But, I guess we always train and coach O trains us to always be mentally tough. I don't want to let my team down.”
The unlikely fourth leading scorer of Ateneo-Motolite, who's averaging 7.8 points in 11 games, said that their veteran teammates helped her to adjust while playing in a higher-level of competition.
“As a rookie, the veterans have been really welcoming,” she shared. “We all love each other so much. I feel like we've all gotten so close even though it's only been a couple of months.”
Gandler was a middle blocker back in high school and she was converted to an open spiker for the Lady Eagles but she didn’t had a hard time adjusting since she already tried other positions before and she is ready whatever role given to her.
“In high school, I kinda played all positions kasi I just kept going around,” she said. “Open (spiker position) is not really a new thing to me. I just trust whatever position coach O gives me.”
And as an outside hitter, she wants to improve her floor defense.
“I guess receiving because I didn't really receive much back in high school. Coach O would always make sure that we do the right thing in every training,” she added. “He just tells us to put the ball up. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be good.”
The Lady Eagles are just a win away from clinching a semifinals berth with a 9-2 win-loss record having three more games in the eliminations. And for Gandler, whatever happens in their campaign, she looks forward to all the learnings as preparation for her rookie year in UAAP Season 81 next year.
“We all want to win, but I guess if we learn, regardless if we win or lose, we're happy with the learn,” she concluded.