PVL: Lindsey Vander Weide would love to return to Petro Gazz after ‘fun’ first PH stint

Petrogazz import Lindsey Vander Weide in the Finals MVP. –PVL PHOTO

Petrogazz import Lindsey Vander Weide in the Finals MVP. –PVL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Lindsey Vander Weide would love to come back to help Petro Gazz in its quest for ‘three-peat’ in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.

Moments after completing the Angels’ title defense in the import-laden tournament, the American spiker expressed her desire to run it back in the 2023 season, saying her best overseas experience so far is in the Philippines.

“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%. This is by far, the most fun I’ve had in a long time, playing volleyball,” said Vander Weide after pouring in 19 points to complete Petro Gazz’s series sweep of Cignal, 25-17, 22-25, 25-12, 25-22, in Finals Game 2 on Tuesday at Philsports Arena.

When Vander Weide was asked about coming back, Petro Gazz coach Rald Ricafort quipped ‘yes’ as the league is looking to stage the Reinforced Conference as a season opener in 2023.

The 25-year-old spiker had an amazing experience in her first PVL tournament as she turned out to be the missing piece for the Angels, who settled for silver in the Open Conference and missed the semifinals of the Invitationals.

“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, and amazing,” she said. “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.”

“The Filipino fans are insane. I’ve never experienced something like this in my entire life. It’s crazy. I think this is how volleyball fans should be, so I really appreciate them for showing up and supporting all the time,” she added.

The first player to win the Best Foreign Player and Finals MVP at the same time attributed their success to her hardworking teammates, bannered by Djanel Cheng, Myla Pablo, Remy Palma, and MJ Phillips.

“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. And 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.”

As the second former Oregon Duck to win a title in the Philippines after Alaina Bergsma led Petron to a Philippine Superliga Grand Prix in 2014, Vander Weide hopes to see her schoolmates taking their talents to the PVL.

“I love Alaina Bergsma. I mean, Oregon Ducks, we’ve had great coaching staffs, to be honest. And they have had amazing players go in and out of Oregon,” Vander Weide said. “There’s tons of us in the pros right now, so I mean, I’m not surprised that it’s happened before, to be honest.”

“I know I have some really good teammates coming out of college right now, that are graduating. This is my favorite place I’ve played overseas, by far. So I will definitely recommend it to my teammates,” she added.