The past few years have seen a dramatic change on how much the liberos and their efforts are recognized.
Unlike before, liberos are now getting more recognition that even a single pancake save or an incredible chase can drive the fans crazy with admiration for the heroes of the floor.
The admiration is well-deserved, of course, as these defensive aces are willing to sacrifice their bodies to keep the ball alive. And last year, Philippine liberos put on another jaw-dropping spectacles.
Without further ado, here is FOX Sports PH’s top five best libero of 2018:
5. Denden Lazaro, Cocolife
Judging by how she played last year, especially her performance in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All Filipino Conference, it looked like Denden Lazaro has already regained her form that earned her multiple awards. Though she has not received any award since 2016, the former Ateneo Lady Eagle remained as one of the best in her field.
On local soil, Lazaro’s defensive efforts most usually went for naught as the struggle continues for Cocolife. In spite of this, she still earned a spot in the national team and participated in the Asian Games and AVC Cuo for Women.
— Philippine SuperLiga Volleyball (@SuperLigaPH) December 4, 2018
4. Toni Rose Ponce, ADU
Adamson University might just have honed another great libero in the making with Toni Rose Ponce who soared high last year. Coming from the home of great liberos, Ponce was able to finally showcase her full potential.
The pint-sized libero copped the Best Libero award in the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference. She was also the top digger and the second most efficient receiver by the end of the eliminations of the PVL Open Conference.
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) July 1, 2017
3. Buding Duremdes, FEU
Far Eastern University’s Buding Duremdes appeared in not just one but four championship series last year, proving she deserves a slot in this list.
Like Lazaro, Duremdes didn’t get any individual accolade. But that shouldn’t be a measure of her skills as her silent yet effective style of play helped FEU reached two Finals stint while fueling Petron in its successful campaigns in the PSL.
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018
2. Dawn Macandili, F2 Logistics
Dawn Macandili sure knows how to make a grand exit. Leaving UAAP by inking her name in its history books, she was awarded as the first ever libero Finals MVP after her empathic outing to give De La Salle University its 11th UAAP title.
A fixture in foreign tournaments, Macandili competed in the Sealect Tuna Women’s Volleyball Championship with F2 Logistics and Asian Games with the national team. At the end of the year, she has earned two golds and a silver.
Macandili with a pancake save. Again.
— Volleyball Analytics (@volleytics) December 11, 2018
1. Kath Arado, UE
Kath Arado has always been a defense behemoth even during her rookie days with University of the East and now that she is considered as one of the best liberos the country has ever produced.
The young libero started her year right by winning both the Best Receiver and Best Digger awards in the UAAP despite UE’s cellar-dwelling position in the standings.
Arado showed no signs of fatigue when she powered UE and Generika Ayala during the simultaneous staging of the PSL Collegiate Grand Slam and PSL All Filipino Conference. She capped the year with a bang as her two teams both clinched bronze medals while she swept the Best Libero awards of the two conferences.
The Lady Eagles stopped playing, thinking they've already scored.
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 21, 2018