Kyla Atienza gave Filipino fans something to cheer about despite the Philippine women’s volleyball team missing the podium after bagging Best Libero in the 2022 ASEAN Grand Prix on Sunday, 11 September.
The defense specialist stood tall among the regional volleyball giants as she delivered exceptional performance for the national squad, composed of the core of the reigning Premier Volleyball League Open Conference champion Creamline.
Atienza’s feat cushioned the heartbreaking winless stint of the Filipinas in the four-nation field featuring powerhouse Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The Nationals dropped all of their three matches including a stinging 24-26, 22-25, 23-25 defeat from the hands of Indonesia in the battle for bronze Sunday.
Still, Atienza, who also played a key role in the Nationals’ sixth place finish in AVC Cup for Women in Manila last month, made sure the Filipinas won’t come home empty-handed.
Her award marked the second time a Filipina bagged the recognition after Dawn Macandili won it in the second leg of the tournament’s inaugural season in 2019.
National team frontline muscle Majoy Baron was named Best Middle Blocker in both legs of the 2019 edition.
Atienza joined other individual award winners Best Outside Hitters Tran Thi Thanh Thuy of Vietnam and Ajcharaporn Kongyot of Thailand; Best Middle Blockers Thi Kieu Trinh Hoang of Vietnam and Thai Tichakorn Boonlert; Best Setter Pornpun Guedpard of Thailand; Best Opposite Spiker Hangesri Pertiwi Megawati of Indonesia and Most Valuable Player Pimpichaya Kokram of Thailand.
Meanwhile, Thailand extended its ASEAN Grand Prix reign after crushing Vietnam, 25-19 25-17 26-24, for a third straight title.