PH Volleyball Year-end Review Part 2: Making history and spreading wings in the int’l arena

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In the first part of the year-end review for Philippine volleyball, we broke down the most notable achievements in collegiate and club ranks.

This time, international tournaments and individual achievements will be highlighted: the national team’s campaign, F2 Logistics’ and BanKo Perlas’ run outside the country, and the three Filipino spikers who made history.

Without further ado, FOX Sports Philippines presents the unforgettable moments and milestones for Philippine volleyball this year.

INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS

Three-part tryouts for the national team were held from April to May, with coach Ramil de Jesus initially spearheading the program before eventually stepping down. It was a dream come true as almost everyone has been waiting for De Jesus to finally handle the national team.

But in a stunning twist of fate, the La Salle mentor stepped down from his post prior to the announcement of the players who made the cut. He was replaced by coach Shaq delos Santos, who helped in the selection of the 18-woman pool who competed in two international competitions.

The national team trained for two weeks in Japan early August for the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia. It successfully made its return to the quadrennial tournament with skipper Aby Maraño, Jaja Santiago, Alyssa Valdez, and Mika Reyes on board.

The Maraño-led squad went on to lose against Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, China and get its lone win against Hongkong to settle for eighth. Late addition Mylene Paat was the squad’s biggest revelation as she emerged as the third top scorer for the squad next to Valdez and Santiago.

Almost half from the Asiad lineup skipped the AVC Cup for Women in Thailand, prompting delos Santos to tap Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Gretchel Soltones, Jema Galanza, and Jasmine Nabor. The squad put up a gallant fight but eventually finished ninth in the 10-team competition.

F2 Logistics and BanKo also participated in separate invitational regional competitions. The Cargo Movers finished fourth in the Sealect Tuna Women’s Volleyball Championship in Thailand, while the Perlas Spikers took home bronze in the Vĩnh Long Television Cup in Vietnam.

But the spotlight truly belongs to the National University Bulldogs as they defeated heavyweight Thailand in the ASEAN Games Men’s Volleyball tournament.

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENTS

In UAAP, Dawn Macandili of La Salle was awarded as the first ever libero Finals MVP, while Ateneo’s Marck Espejo completed a five-year grandslam as Conference MVP. In the women’s division, Jaja Santiago earned the highest honor in her final year.

Santiago and Espejo, together with Dindin Santiago-Manabat, became the first three Filipino spikers to be tapped as imports in the highly-vaunted Japanese V.Premiere League. Santiago plays for Ageo Medics, Santiago-Manabat is with Toray Arrows, while Espejo is reinforcing Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler.

American spiker Lindsay Stalzer remained as the winningest import in the PSL as she was awarded MVP of the Grand Prix after helping Petron win the crown. Ara Galang bagged her first MVP award post-college as she led F2 Logistics in the Invitationals Cup.

Cuban rocket Gyselle Silva of Smart inked her name in the history books as she scored 55 points during her squad’s five-set encounter against Cocolife.

Her output was the best in PSL, dethroning Serbian Sara Klisura’s 41, and the third best in world.

Defensive gem Kath Arado of University of the East not only swept UAAP as the best digger and best receiver but also took home both libero awards in the two season-ending conference of PSL.

Kim Fajardo of F2 Logistics, meanwhile, completed a Best Setter grandslam and became the second most awarded player in PSL next to Aby Maraňo.

Creamline’s Jia Morado was the first setter to win back-to-back Finals MVP in PVL and even in the now defunct Shakey’s V-League. Maizo-Pontillas first did it during the SVL era.
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