PVL: Vanie Gandler relish showdown vs former Ateneo teammates
MANILA, Philippines — Vanie Gandler relished playing against former Ateneo teammates Faith Nisperos, Erika Raagas, and Jaja Maraguinot as she led Cignal past Akari in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League All-Filipino Conference.
Facing her ex-college teammates for the first time, Gandler rose to the occasion with 14 points and 14 digs as Cignal ended its two-game skid with a 25-18, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20 victory over Akari on Tuesday at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Aside from bringing back the winning ways of the HD Spikers, the former Ateneo outside spiker went up against her fellow Blue Eagles, who are now with Akari, in the pro ranks for the first time after their teams were in separate groups in the Invitational Conference last July.
“It was very exciting, not just Faith Nisperos, but also my previous teammates, batchmates, Erika Raagas, and Jaja Maraguinot, it was really exciting because you know, we worked together in the same court for years,” said Gandler, who also drilled the game-winning spike to end Akari’s two-game winning streak.
“It’s just always nice to see familiar faces but now on the opposite side of the court.”
Raagas delivered 16 points and 11 excellent receptions for the Chargers. Nisperos was limited to just 10 markers, while Maraguinot had 12 excellent sets only for her team to drop to a 3-2 record.
More than her first duel with Nisperos and Co., Gandler was focused on helping the HD Spikers snap their woes as they continue to miss the services of Rachel Anne Daquis, who is still in the US for a coaching camp.
“It’s really just working more as a team. The loss of Ate Rachel, of course, was big for us. So we were kind of struggling how we could step up to the position,” she said “We all wanted to work together as a team and not just rely on one person to bring us up and even with the coaches we just have to talk more so we could connect. Thankfully, it worked today.”
The 22-year-old spiker was relieved that Cignal overcame the tough challenge of Akari by flaunting composure and teamwork.
“Akari really pushed us today, they were really fighting for every point and we really just reminded each other to one, focus on one point at a time and two, like I’ve been saying, work together as a team. If one person makes a mistake, it’s alright because we have five more people on the court. That’s what we focused on,” Gandler said.
Gandler and the HD Spikers eye their first win streak of the tournament when they take on the winless but gritty Farm Fresh Foxies (0-5) on Saturday at Philsports Arena.
Post game interview: Vanie Gandler
Cignal coach Shaq Delos Santos and Vanie Gandler after ending their two-game skid. #PVL2023
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Tuesday, October 31, 2023