Best of 2015: My picks for Best Filipino, international volleyball players and teams


10. Micah Christenson (USA/Cucine Lube Civitanova, setter)

10 - Christenson

It was a highlight of a year for Micah Christenson. He did have a lot of highlight videos this year, showcasing his amazing setting as well as his powerful serving and blocking. If he continues to do his amazing setting, no doubt, they have a chance to pull off another Olympic surprise.

9. Benjamin Toniutti (France/VfB Friedrichshafen, setter)

08 - Toniutti

When talking about setters, there’s no one who stood out more than this guy. Toniutti had improved a lot as a setter. He was able to develop more chemistry with the young players and he was able to orchestrate a balanced offense for France. His leadership added to that as well. He may not be as vocal as the other team captains, but you can see how he was in control most of the time, for the French squad.

8. Jenia Grebennikov (France/VfB Friedrichshafen, libero)

07 - Grebennikov

No doubt that he’s this year’s best libero in the world. Even before France won the title this year, everyone’s been talking about how amazing Grebennikov’s performance was in the previous leagues. It’s about time he won for his home country. He deserves it. He’s really good and he would really risk anything just to save those god damn off the block long balls. It would be fun to see him in the Olympics for France.

7. Karsta Lowe (USA/Naranjito Las Changas, opposite)

05 - Lowe

Her Rookie year for Team USA was nothing short of spectacular. I was able to see Karsta Lowe’s career blossom since she first played for UCLA. She really had a lot of potential back then and I knew she was gonna be a great asset for the national team. She had the skills, the leadership and what’s good with her is that she always has this “everything’s going to be okay” face, like everytime. She will be an asset for USA in their next national campaigns as well as the Olympics.

6. Anna Malova (Russia/Dinamo Moscow, libero)

09 - Malova

She is no doubt the most improved player of 2015. From a so-so libero to one of the best liberos out there. I just can’t contain myself when I saw Malova saving and digging well in the last two leagues that Russia joined in. It was like, “Finally, Russia has a very good libero.” It’s a crucial thing because this is one of the positions that Russia lacked in the last few years. Had she played this way before, who know what Russia could have achieved. She will definitely be a crucial piece to Russia’s Olympic bid.

5. Zhu Ting (China/Henan Huawei, outside)

04 - Zhu Ting

Talk about greatness, I’m quite sure this phenomenal woman will always be at the top. We all witnessed Zhu Ting’s supreme skills last year. We knew she would be one of the world’s top players. And yep, she is now. Not only did she improve her floor defense, she has also been working on her blocking and serving. She’s slowly becoming a solid all around player for China. And that is scary because she’s only young.

4. Aleksandar Atanasijevic (Serbia/Sir Safety Perugia, winger)

06 - Atanasijevic

He has always been amazing. Really. In Serbia’s games, most of the time, Atanasijevic will always be the top scorer. He has an amazing leap, he has very good defense and he really has that gentle giant kind of face that you won’t expect to drop bombs at you. He was instrumental in Serbia’s World League run this year and I won’t be surprised if he will lead Serbia again in the upcoming Olympics.

3. Matt Anderson (USA/Zenit Kazan, opposite)

03 - Anderson

Well, here’s someone who’s always on everyone’s list. Anderson had a whirlwind year. After his announcement of indefinite leave, to his amazing performance for Team USA, he definitely had an interesting year. We can all agree that the guy is still the face of USA Volleyball. He not only has the looks but he really has amazing skills. There were some moments when USA was down and he would always be the one who would lift them up in terms of scoring and also in terms of motivation. You can see that he’s really a great leader.

2. Nataliya Goncharova-Obmochaeva (Russia/Dinamo Moscow, opposite)

Nataliya Goncharova of Russia serves

Sorry to all the haters out there, but this is definitely Goncharova’s year. She should have won like two MVP awards this year, but due to the FIVB rule that MVP awards should only be given to a player from the champion team, she wasn’t able to get one. But yeah, she owned this year. She was definitely the best player this year in women’s volleyball. Her attacks are more precise now and she was able to improve her floor defense. Hoping she will finally get that MVP award because she really deserves it like other great players.

1. Earvin Ngapeth (France/Casa Modena, outside)

01 - Ngapeth

Despite the issues and controversies, we have to admit that it’s really Earvin Ngapeth’s year this year. He has finally won a championship for France and has been doing well in other leagues. You just have to be amazed at what this guy can offer. He not only has monster scoring, he also has the best reactions when scoring or when being scored at (Haha). Whenever he leaps for a spike, it’s like an amazing thing is about to happen. In Filipino words, “madadala ka”. His on court leadership should also be recognized. He likes pushing his teammates to do their best, which is good. Hoping that he will continue to amaze us in 2016.

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