In the din of the revelry after La Salle completed its latest trilogy of triumphs in UAAP women’s volleyball, there stood two stocky, rather unimposing workhorses who were pillars of the Lady Spikers’ dynasty.
Graduating Libero Dawn Macandili and setter Michelle Cobb made sure La Salle’s defense was always in place and its offense on target, which made the Lady Spikers a truly formidable force all season long.
The word “intangible” fits both perfectly as they carried the team in a very silent way, not needing to score heavily because with the Lady Spikers, lighting up the scoreboard was almost a given.
“There’s pressure on my part this year because it’s my last year,” said Macandili in Filipino as she ran away with the Finals MVP for being the bedrock of La Salle’s defense.
“In the past, we were playing for Ate Kim (Fajardo, La Salle’s past illustrious setter), now I was thinking what legacy I could leave the team with,” she added.
The 5-foot Macandili, who in Game 1 chalked 24 digs and 13 receives and in Game 2 had 21 and eight, was completely surprised when it was announced that she was the Finals MVP, edging the team’s big scorers like Kim Kiana Dy, Majoy Baron and Desiree Cheng.
“My goal was how to motivate the team every game,” said Macandili, known for her picture-perfect diving digs. “The training and preparation was very hard but it was all worth it.”
But while Macandili’s tour of duty with La Salle is over, Cobb’s is just starting.
The sophomore setter, taking over from Fajardo this season, has definitely moved out of the shadows of the national team stalwart.
“The first word that came to mind was: Finally,” Cobb said. “Like I was able to finally prove myself and fill in the shoes of Ate Kim.”
Cobb scored four points aside from making 15 excellent sets in Game 1, and 17 excellent digs and 23 excellent sets in the title-clinching game.
“I was thankful to my seniors especially the graduating players (Baron, Macandili and Dy) and also to coach (Ramil de Jesus),” Cobb said. “He really pushed me to the limit. But I repaid it with this championship.”