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

TOP 10 LOCAL TEAMS

10. U23, Men’s

04 - U23 M

For a team that was assembled just a few weeks before, I felt like the team really played well. It was the first time for most of our players and they were able to win a game and they were able to challenge a lot of teams. It’s enough for a start.

9. NU, Women’s

08 - NU W

The moment Coach Roger took over the Lady Bulldogs, I knew they will have a steadier team. They are finally playing more as a team and most of the players are playing well. Pablo has finally emerged as one of the leaders and Santiago was able to blossom into a very good middle blocker. What’s even more exciting is that they were able to get a very good setter. It will be an interesting 2016 for them.

8. SEAG, Women’s

07 - SEAG W

Philippines players react after scoring a point against Malaysia’s team during their volleyball women’s preliminary round at the 28th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Singapore on June 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

There was so much expectation with the Philippine team because it had like a dream team of sorts. But inexperience stopped them from winning games. Sure we had close sets against Vietnam and Indonesia, but it really showed how we are still behind in terms of technology. Maybe more exposures and foreign knowledge will strengthen our team even more. But what matters is that we were finally able to join again. It’s a start and everyone is excited for the future.

7. SEAG, Men’s

09 - SEAG M

It was such a joy to see the Men’s Volleyball team winning their first game for so long. Likewise, it was nice to see them challenge strong teams like Myanmar and Thailand. If we will keep the same crew, and maybe add even more and maintain the program, we could come up with an even better team come 2017.

6. PLDT, Men’s

10 - PLDT M

In the most exciting Men’s Volleyball season ever, PLDT was able to win a championship against a very young Cagayan squad. PLDT had such an amazing crew, built mostly of legends and a mixture of different star players from schools. It was such a joy to see them play together. If PLDT maintains the same line-up, they will still be a big threat in 2016.

5. U23, Women’s

06 - U23 W

First time we hosted a women’s volleyball event went well. It was such a joy to see our own Philippine team playing against other countries, and in our home. Although the Philippines did not place high (which was kind of expected considering the Big Four teams are in the competition), I felt like they did well by making the Top 8.

4. Foton, Women’s

05 - Foton W

When I first looked at their line-up, I knew Foton would be a super strong team. I even predicted what the Finals will be and I was right. Foton really had an awesome crew this year. You have the awesome trio of Messing, Stalzer and Santiago. What could go wrong? But I really thought it was more of the hunger and teamwork which made them win the championship.

3. PLDT, Women’s

03 - PLDT W

Two crowns in one year? Yes. that’s how dominant PLDT is. But it wasn’t at all smooth sailing. PLDT had to endure a hard fighting Army team, TWICE. PLDT really had a solid crew this year. They have a lot of national team players and it was sort of an all star line-up for them. If they will maintain the same crew for 2016 (which I kind of doubt), expect another wild ride for this team.

2. Ateneo, Women’s

02 - Ateneo W

After a cinderella season, Ateneo was the dominant team this time. Ateneo was able to showcase what they are made of by sweeping UAAP and performing well in the V-League despite a young crew. What’s even glaring is that although players keep on changing, the team still maintains a solid system. It will be an interesting 2016 especially with MVPs Valdez and Ahomiro about to bid adieu. But with Coach Tai at the helm, their future is in good hands. Expect more stars from this team.

1. Ateneo, Men’s

01 - Ateneo M

It’s hard to deny Ateneo’s surpemacy this year. In all the competitions they joined this year, they won a championship. A sweep in Spikers’ Turf, first championship both in UAAP Indoor and Beach Volleyball. Such an amazing year for this team. What’s even more exciting is that they were able to get a lot of high profile recruits for the upcoming year. With a loaded cast, tall players and promising rookies, expect them to play even better in 2016.

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