ROOKIE rookie Vanie Gandler is focusing on her own game as she debuts in UAAP Season 81, avoiding comparisons with former Ateneo top hitter Jho Maraguinot.
After four years with the Lady Eagles, Maraguinot decided it was time to move on, which left a void at open spiker position.
Gandler, a recruit from De La Salle Zobel, did well in a preseason tournament, but made clear she is not out to match the performances of Maraguinot.
At least not yet.
“Of course, I have like really big shoes to fill and I can’t exactly fill that right away,” the 18-year-old rookie said.
“Because Ate Jho is a veteran like she’s really good but I don’t want to think about that.”
“I just want to play my own game and I don’t want to compare myself to anyone so I don’t get too pressured,” Gandler said.
Ateneo placed second to Creamline in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference, and Gandler seized the opportunity to learn Oliver Almadro’s system.
“For sure that was like really a great help to know the system. It was really good that I got to have that exposure as early as PVL,” she said.
Gandler’s goal is to deliver a championship and give graduating players Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Kim Gequillana a fitting sendoff.
“Of course we all want to bring back the title to Ateneo, we want to do it for the seniors, a lot of them are graduating, a lot of them are playing their fifth year and there’s no next time for them so we really want to do our best,” Gandler said.
Ateneo faces titleholder La Salle in the opener on Feb. 17.