BINAN CITY, Laguna –-- The smallest player in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship stood tall alongside the biggest names in the continent.
Defense specialist Dawn Macandili gave the Philippines its biggest reward in a memorable night where the brightest stars in Asia were feted to end the weeklong biennial tournament.
The De La Salle University standout was named 2nd Best Libero much to the delight of the Filipinos and foreign volleyball fans that trooped the Alonte Sports Arena here.
“Nakakagulat po kasi siyempre first time ko tapos ganito agad parang nakaka-pressure din,” said Macandili, who exactly a year ago won the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Most Valuable Player award after leading F2 Logistics to the throne.
“At the same time (challenge din ito) na mag-perform pa ako ng mas mataas pa sa performance ko ngayon,” added Macandili, who made it in the national team as a reserve alongside DLSU teammate Kim Dy.
Macandili, a two-time UAAP champion, had a shaky start in her first national stint but slowly made her mark with superb floor coverage.
“Ayaw ko mag-settle, since 'yun nga pangit ang start ko tapos ganito ang resulta,” she said. “Bawing-bawi (sa mga sakit sa paghabol ng bola).”
Macandili proved her worth and lived up to her billing as Ms. Everywhere in the PHI biggest win in the tournament.
She had 19 digs and 12 excellent receptions in the host team’s 27-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-23, win against 2015 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Vietnam in the quarterfinals classification round last Monday.
Head coach Francis Vicente has nothing but praises for Mcandili.
“Wow! Very happy (ako for her),” said Vicente. “Tama yung sinabi ng Japanese coach (Akiyoshi Kawamoto of Okayama City Seagulls) noon sa training namin sa Japan na si Dawn is a world-class libero.”
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.