MANILA, Philippines -- Lindsey Vander Weide capped a memorable first season in the Philippines by powering Petro Gazz to the championship of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference on Tuesday night.
The American import delivered once again for the Gazz Angels, scoring 19 points in their 25-17, 22-25, 25-12, 25-22 victory over the Cignal HD Spikers in Game 2 of the best-of-3 Finals.
For her efforts, Vander Weide earned not just Best Foreign Guest Player honors but also the Finals Most Valuable Player plum -- awards that came as a surprise to the prolific open spiker.
"It feels great. I didn't know how the awards worked, at all. I didn't know there was a Finals MVP, and I didn't know it was gonna happen," Vander Weide told reporters after their Game 2 victory.
"So when my name was called, I mean it's a great feeling. The finals is the most important part of the season, and I'm glad that I was able to help my team win this, so it feels really good."
A former Oregon Duck, Vander Weide has had stints in France, Hungary and Greece before signing with the Gazz Angels this year. She was thrilled to have helped Petro Gazz retain the Reinforced Conference title that they first won in 2019.
"I'm feeling great. I'm so happy to do it with this team, this is one of the most hard-working teams I've ever been on, and I think we really showed that in our Finals run," she said. "I have never seen us this focused, until this time, which is the most important."
"We pulled it out and got the championship. So I'm so ecstatic, and I'm so happy to do it with this team, once again," she added.
Making the experience all the more special for Vander Weide was that they got to win the championship in front of an appreciative crowd at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The American could not hide her love for the Filipino fans, noting that they give games a different energy.
"Insane, the Filipino fans are insane. I've never experienced something like this in my entire life. It's crazy," she said. "I think this is how volleyball fans should be, so I really appreciate them for showing up and supporting all the time."
There was no hesitation from Vander Weide when asked if she wanted to return for another go-around with the Gazz Angels.
"I would love to come back here. I'm going home for a little bit first, I'm really excited to see my family. But I would love to come back here, 100%," said the outside spiker. "This is by far, the most fun I've had in a long time, playing volleyball."
At the moment, however, her new focus is to celebrate the Reinforced Conference championship with her teammates -- a perfect ending to her first season in the PVL.
"I couldn't have it any better," said Vander Weide. "This is just amazing. I had no idea what I was coming into, playing in the Philippines. This is my first season, I just heard stuff about it."
"It was a great team to be on, clearly, and I just think I fit perfectly. I was a perfect puzzle piece with this team, so it worked out great."