Saturday, April 15, 2017

Awesome Liberos

Over the last couple of years, Dawn Macandili has established herself as a premiere libero in the country. She started out as one of two liberos in DLSU - sharing the role with Cienne Cruz - before taking on the role fully when Cienne left the team. It was at that point that her skill improved by leaps and bounds. Literally. Dawn has now gained recognition and praise for her amazing dolphin dives to save the ball, even if it means throwing her body and hitting the floor time after time. Her athleticism, speed, control, and commitment got her the best receiver and best digger awards in last season's UAAP (and she's on track to be awarded best receiver this season too). And to highlight just how amazing she is, she was also awarded best libero at the most recent Philippine Superliga (PSL) reinforced tournament and also the best libero and MVP - yes, MVP - at the PSL all-Filipino tournament. Wow.

This rally, in the second round match between DLSU and UST showcases Dawn's remarkable skills. Not only where the commentators at awe, even the court announcer credited Dawn for the point (even if it was Des Cheng who scored).

This rally reminded me of what might possibly be the best display of ground defense I've seen from both teams in one rally. It was in the middle of the final set of the NCAA men's volleyball finals between CSB and UPHSD (UPHSD won this point and had a massive lead but CSB prevailed in the end). There were about a dozen amazing saves, a few of them just absolutely sensational. Check it out here:

video uploaded in youtube by ABS-CBN Sports And Action


Of course, Dawn isn't the only libero to have been awarded as league or tournament MVP.  Japanese women's volleyball player Yuko Sano was awarded MVP at the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix. Even more impressive was Brazilian men's volleyball player Serginho, who was awarded MVP at the Rio Olympics in 2016. While liberos used to have thankless jobs because the glory often goes to the players with the killer spikes or deadly blocks, it is good that more and more people all around the world are giving them recognition and credit for the fantastic and very difficult work they do.

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