Best of 2014: My picks for Best International Volleyball Players and Moments

MY TOP MEN’S VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS FOR 2014 

1. Taylor Sander (USA/BYU) – Rookie-MVP in an international scene. Amazing leap and excellent volleyball IQ.

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2. Marius Wlazly (Poland) – Led the country for a world championship. Beat that.

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3. Ivan Zaytsev (Italy) – Italy’s own workhorse. Can score anywhere.

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4. Wallace De Souza (Brazil) – Still good despite the injury (also biased cause he’s my favorite)

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5. Ricardo Lucarelli (Brazil) – Most improved player

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6. Earvin Ngapeth (France) – Breakout year, definitely

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7. Seyed Mousavi (Iran) – 48 blocks in a world tournament. Beat that.

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8. Matthew Anderson (USA) – Still an amazing player no matter what and the heart and soul of USA

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9. Jenia Grebennikov (France) – Amazing libero! Brought the house down in the World championship!

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10. Mir Saeid Marouflakrani (Iran) – Amazing setter! Probably the best in the world right now.

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A Farewell Letter to the Philippine Volleyball Community

This weekend meant the end of my stay in the Philippines. Medyo matagal na itong planned actually. I think 2012 pa lang, I’ve been telling my friends of my plans to migrate abroad. Natuloy na rin sa wakas. It has always been my dream to work abroad but I also have family duties here in the Philippines kaya di ko rin maiwanan lahat.

Of course, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who helped me in Philippine Volleyball.

First, I’d like to say thanks to Mr. Ricky Palou, Mr. Sherwin Malonzo and Mr. Arthur Lim. You guys have taught me a lot. Thanks for giving me a lot of opportunities too. You guys know what I mean. Thank you talaga. Please do continue in promoting volleyball. It’s a good sport with an overwhelming and warm community. You guys are making this sport so big. Again, thank you.

Sa aking short writing career, sobrang nagtathank you ako kay Sir Josiah Albelda for giving me opportunities to write both in Matchpoint and Rappler. Super thanks. Dami ko natutunan and malaki utang na loob ko sa iyo. Bond na lang ulit tayo when I get back from the States. Haha.

I’d like to also thank Mr. Tats Suzara, Ms. Anna Tomas, Mr. Ginio Panganiban, Ms. Kyle Principe and everyone who have been friends and gave me the opportunity to participate in Philippine volleyball activities like the forming of the Bomberinas, the Superliga and everything. Sobrang salamat po talaga sa inyo. Sana po wag kayong magsawang sumuporta sa Philippine volleyball.

I’ve developed a lot of friends in this sport. There were some clashes too but you guys were all memorable. Thanks for the bonding, the entertaining dinners, the side by side cheering and at times, jeering and the memories you have shared with me. Dahil sa dami niyo, I won’t mention you guys ng isa-isa. Alam niyo na kung sino kayo. Both past and present. Thanks for always being there sa side ko.

Thanks din sa mga kahit hindi ko pa namemeet kasi asa province sila, asa ibang bansa sila or nahihiya sila magpakilala, na you guys trusted me and natiis niyo yung pagiging passionate ko and pagiging super outspoken ko. Salamat sa lahat.

For my dear Ateneo Lady Eagles and Blue Spikers, championships come to those who wait. You might not have won the UAAP yet, but you will someday. I will always support and believe in you guys. I always include you guys in your prayers. For both the past and present Lady Eagles and Blue Spikers, thank you so much for the memorable chats, beautiful conversations and the inspiring messages you have shared with me. I won’t mention you guys na, alam niyo na kung sino kayo. Thank you also for being so kind to me despite minsan sa pangungulit and sa pagiging overly passionate. You guys will always have a place in my heart. Sobra. I’ve never been a picture person but rest assured those memories are even better than pictures. Kunin niyo na yan this year. Baka umuwi ako. Haha. Let’s see.

I may have a favorite team in both divisions but I always had my own share of favorite players from other teams too. These include Carmela Tunay, Cha Cruz, Jessey de Leon, Maica Morada, Rose Vargas, Illa Santos, Jovy Gonzaga, Ara Galang, UP girls (almost everyone of them) and so much more pa. Of course, the girls I really loved the most, the Santiago sisters. Sobrang bait niyo sa akin and I can’t thank you enough. Sa lahat po sa inyo, thank you for being inspirations to my life. I will always treasure you guys. Hope you can continue setting examples to the rest of Philippine volleyball. Magsilbi sana kayong halimbawa hindi lang sa paglalaro kung hindi sa inyong mga pagkatao na rin.

Some people call me a leader. But no I am not. I’ve always been a follower. Kaya sa mga iba dyan na nagaask kung may papalit ba sa akin as leader ng ibang Facebook groups ganyan. Thanks kung leader nga ang tingin niyo sa akin. But yes, marami diyan who can lead you guys and can set a better example. UAAP Season na so let’s see kung sino mag iinitiate ng mga leadership roles diyan. Hindi ako indespensable. May pagkukulang din ako. Let the new ones take over and I’m sure makakahanap din kayo. Good Luck guys.

Sa mga fans of different teams and players, continue supporting your favorite players and teams. Lumaki ang volleyball with your support. Kayo ang reason why the sport became so big like this. Ipagpatuloy niyo lang yan. But know your limits and boundaries too. Just spread the love and just be passionate about what you are doing. Kung ayaw man ng parents, laging ikatwiran na, at least hindi ka nagsisigarilyo or nagdudrugs. Joke lang po. But seriously, continue making volleyball big. The sport needs you!

It’s sad that I won’t be able to see Philippine volleyball progress. Sayang kasi the sport is growing pa naman. But when I get back, I hope most of the games will be in MOA Arena, Araneta or any other future big stadiums. Of course, even without me in the country, I’d be supporting Philippine Volleyball pa rin of course.

Thank you Philippine Volleyball community

See you again soon!

God Bless you guys!

Pagpray ko kayo lahat! 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂

Rookies dominating the FIVB World Grand Prix

So there are so many rookies this year, well that’s kind of normal every after Olympics. But what’s very significant this year is that most of the rookies are the ones doing the job for their national squads. So far, I’ve been impressed with three and here are they:

3. Kim Hill (USA) – 6’4 Outside Hitter, 23 years old

Although she’s not really a rookie cause she’s kinda old, this is her first time to join the US National Squad. Although it is her first time, she has been impressive and has been posting solid numbers for the defending 3-peat champions. I was able to see her in a tune-up game against Japan a few weeks back and can’t help but be impressed with her athleticism. It would be interesting to see her get better in the coming years and I hope she can really be a monster inside the court. She’s very kind and she doesn’t really have swag. USA has a bright future especially if she will play with the likes of Destinee Hooker, Logan Tom, Foluke Akinradewo and others in the coming years.

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2. Zhu Ting (China) – 6’3 Outside Hitter, 18 years old

Ahhh. She has impressed me so much the past games. She’s the reason why I’m not really hating that much on China right now a midst the massive trashtalking of Yunli Xu and Hui Ruoqi. Haha. But then again I can always appreciate talent like everyone else. I’ve always loved Yimei Wang. But damn, Zhu Ting just made me love China more. This girl has the potential to not just be Asia’s best but the world’s best player. I’m amazed with her leaping ability and power. Aside from these, she also has good blocking and floor defense. She’s like the Ms. Everything for China now. It would be interesting to see her in the next years.

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1. Melissa Vargas (Cuba) – 6’1 Opposite, 13 years old

They say everyone can play volleyball. But not everyone can play great as young as 13 YEARS OLD. Yes, that has been the highlight of my tweets lately because I was so impressed at this girl! Although she’s the youngest player in the tournament, she has been posting impressive numbers. Truly remarkable was their game against Russia. She, I meant Cuba forced a strong Russia team to 4 sets. She was the top scorer of the match. Imagine that, beating her teammates who are mostly 20 years old and above. I’ve got to give it to her, she leaps high and she has the power. She has good blocking as well. Cuba’s future is safe with this kid especially if they will train her to become the next Regla Torres or Mireya Luis. Plus she’s 6’1 already at age 13 so she can still grow like 5-6 inches more. This would be interesting. I suggest you begin watching Cuba games. You’ll be amazed at what this kid can do! (Look at the pic and she looks like a kid talaga! Swear!)

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