May 25, 2024

PVL: Vanie Gandler shines as first Player of the Week for 2024 season

PVL: Vanie Gandler shines as first Player of the Week for 2024 season
Vanie Gandler's star continues to rise for the Cignal HD Spikers. Photo (c) RM Chua
Vanie Gandler proved her stellar 2023 rookie season in the Premier Volleyball League was no mere fluke.


In Cignal's first game of the 2024 All-Filipino Conference Saturday, the former Ateneo star spiker picked up right where she left off, tallying a game-high 19 points on 17 attacks, one ace, and one block to help the HD Spikers edge the reloaded Akari Chargers in four sets.


In a team bannered by steely veterans like former PVL Most Valuable Player Ces Molina and top offseason 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, of course, because our preparation time was very short, but I'm happy that the team was able to come together," said the Cignal rising star after their 21-25, 25-18, 25-12, 25-18 victory over Akari at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.


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


For her standout performance, Gandler was awarded by the newly-formed PVL Press Corps as the 2024 season's first Player of the Week for the period of February 20 to 24.


She edged out Creamline's Tots Carlos, PLDT's Savie Davison, Chery Tiggo's Mylene Paat, Petro Gazz's Nicole Tiamzon, and Choco Mucho's Mars Alba for the weekly award deliberated upon by reporters regularly covering the PVL beat.


Carrying a mindset rivaling seasoned veterans, the 23-year-old 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," she continued.


"As a team, 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]."