By: Tony Lebron Atayde, Jr.
I have always been a hoop junkie. I enjoy baseball; soccer, American football and even hockey. Volleyball was never in the mix. However when I started watching the Lady Spikers, I was hooked. It is a beautiful game made up of talented players. DLSU has had its share of great players.
Since last year, there is one player who has really impressed me. She has dazzled the crowd and has a large following. Her name is Dawn Nicole Macandili.
When you see her off the court, the last thing you would imagine her to be is a volleyball player. When her opponents face her on the court, the last thing they want to see is how great of a volleyball player she has become.
Dawn Macandili has brought the position of libero to a whole new level. DLSU multi-titled Coach Ramil de Jesus, began the trend of taking the libero out of the shadows and turned it into a crucial position in volleyball with Melissa Gohing. Now he has Dawn Macandili.
In a quick interview, Dawn said that before she played for the De La Salle-Zobel Junior Spikers, she had no idea what a libero’s role was. It didn’t take long before she was receiving, digging and diving for balls that came her way. She won championships with De La Salle Zobel and in her last year in high school won the Best Libero award.
As a Lady Spiker she has matured and has brought her game to an unprecedented level. Last year (Season 78), she won Best Receiver and Best Digger Awards. But what was most important to her was the Championship the Lady Spikers won. Who can forget that highlight move where she kicked the ball just to get it over?
Watching Dawn play is like poetry in motion. The 5 foot tall spitfire is unstoppable. From her dives where she puts her body on the line to her superb receptions, people are just awed. This season she has even improved her setting as an additional weapon.
I asked her also about how she feels after a game and in her girlish smile she said that she has body pains. However, she only feels it after the game is over because she is determined to do what the teams needs during the match.
I have watched her at practice and she puts the same intensity as she does in the actual game. Off the court, she is so humble (like the rest of the team) even after all she has accomplished. She always has a ready smile that is uniquely hers. Dawn is a team player. She never forgets to credit the whole team for all that she has accomplished.
This season, she is again on a rampage. She is the standard by which collegiate liberos are now measured. Liberos do not spike or go up for monstrous blocks. They receive, dig, dive and save that ball no matter what it takes. Dawn is willing to go even further. She cannot be intimated because she is the one who intimidates.
The scariest thing for opposing teams is that she will only get better in Season 80.
My last question to her was how it felt being the smallest player on the team? She looked at me, smiled and said “SPECIAL!”.