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Gandler showcases fine form


There is no such thing as a sophomore jinx for Vanie Gandler.

The Cignal rising star proved her stellar rookie season in the Premier Volleyball League was no fluke after an explosive start in her second year with the club.

Gandler picked up from where she left off last year, showing her scoring prowess did not wane despite a two-month offseason rest when she dropped a game-high 19 points in the HD Spikers’ 21-25, 25-18, 25-12, 25-18 victory over Akari in the PVL All-Filipino Conference last Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

She pumped in 17 attacks, one ace, and one block while providing the much-needed energy for Cignal to turn back the reloaded Akari Chargers in four sets.

Her efforts did not go unnoticed as Gandler got the distinction of being the newly-formed PVL Press Corps first-ever Player of the Week for the period of 20 to 24 February.

In a team bannered by steely veterans like former Most Valuable Player Ces Molina and top off-season recruit Dawn Macandili-Catindig, it was the young Gandler who quickly proved her worth from the get-go, despite being rested in the game’s waning moments.

“It feels good (to win), of course, because our preparation time was very short, but I’m happy that the team was able to come together,” the Ateneo de Manila University product said.

“After the first set, it’s normal first-game jitters. but I could see how much we all want it.”

She edged out for the honors given by scribes covering the beat Creamline’s Tots Carlos, PLDT’s Savie Davison, Chery Tiggo’s Mylene Paat, Petro Gazz’s Nicole Tiamzon and Choco Mucho’s Mars Alba.

Gandler already knows that her rise to stardom won’t come as easily moving forward, and she is very much ready for bigger challenges in the path ahead.

“Personally, for me, now that I’ve played two conferences, I know that the teams are going to really scout me more, so I really have to think outside the box and level up from here,” the 23-year-old head-turner said.

“I’m sure teams are also gonna scout us. That’s a challenge, of course. We’re just 14 awesome, so, you know, (we need to) stay healthy. It’s everyone’s biggest obstacle.”

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