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Playing vs ex-Ateneo teammates makes Akari match extra-special for Cignal’s Gandler

MANILA, Philippines — For Cignal’s Vanie Gandler, their four-set victory over the Akari Chargers in the 2023 PVL All-Filipino Conference on Tuesday carried a little more significance than others.

This as it offered her a unique experience of facing her former college teammates in the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Akari had more than a couple of familiar faces for Gandler on the other side of the net, and being able to see them succeed at the same level has brought a lot of excitement for the former Ateneo standout.

“Yeah, it was very exciting, not just [playing against] Faith Nisperos, [but] also my previous teammates and batch mates, Erika Raagas and Jaja Maraguinot,” said Gandler after the game. 

“It was really exciting because you know, we worked together in the same court for years. And it’s just always nice to see familiar faces but now on the opposite side of the court,” she added.

Gandler performed well against her former teammates, finishing as Player of the Game with a double-double of 14 points and 13 excellent digs.

But with a formidable lineup as well, Gandler admitted that her former teammates and the rest of the Chargers really challenged the HD Spikers’ bid.

“Akari really pushed us today, they were really fighting for every point and we really just reminded each other to one, focus on one point at a time and two, like I’ve been saying, work together as a team,” said Gandler. 

“If one person makes a mistake, it’s alright because we have five more people on the court. That’s what we focused on.”

Cignal faces its next challenge on Saturday, November 4, against a win-hungry Farm Fresh Foxies side at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.