Macandili in, Lazaro out as PHI revamps women's volleyball squad roster

Macandili in, Lazaro out as PHI revamps volleyball roster
Reserve libero Dawn Macandili replaces Denden Lazaro in the main roster of the Philippine national women's volleyball team.

KUALA LUMPUR --- Reserve libero Dawn Macandili made it to the main roster of the Philippine national women’s volleyball team as replacement for injured veteran defense specialist Denden Lazaro in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

Head coach Francis Vicente said that they already informed the organizers about their decision shortly after arriving from a four-hour flight from Manila on Saturday.  

“Nagbago tayo. I hope ma-aaprubahan,” he said. “Sa sinubmit kong names kasama si Dawn dun.”

The mentor cited that they want Lazaro - one of the most dedicated aspirants during the tryouts and training sessions, adjusting her previous commitments to give way to her dream of representing the country – to be in the team but her health is their main priority.  

“We know how hard she (Lazaro) worked and how eager she is in representing the country in this tournament,” said Vicente.

“But her health is our top priority. She would serve as a crucial part of the national team in the next three years and we don’t want to further aggravate her injury by fielding her in a very competitive tournament such as the SEA Games.”

Lazaro suffered a pulled hamstring injury in an exhibition match a day before the national squad embarked on a 17-day training in Japan.

Lazaro was supposed to suit up for her second SEA Games stint after seeing action in the 2015 Singapore edition where Nationals finished at fifth place in their return to the biennial meet since claiming a bronze medal back in the 2005 Manila SEA Games.

The former Ateneo de Manila standout joins Kim Kianna Dy in the sidelines as the Philippines opens its campaign against Malaysia on Friday and against Vietnam on Saturday at the MITEC Hall 1 in this booming Malaysian capital.

Macandili is the most logical choice especially after coming off an impressive performance in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship in Binan City, Laguna where she was named 2nd Best Libero after the Nationals emerged with an eighth place finish recently.

Prior to that, she had a great training camp in Japan where no less than noted Japanese coach Akiyoshi Kawamoto stressed that she has the making of a “world-class libero.”

On the other hand, Lazaro appears to remain in pain with her movements still limited.

She was not in her 100% playing condition during the Asian Senior stint, prompting Vicente to give the lion’s share of the minutes to Macandili.

Also in the final roster are team captain Mika Reyes, Abigail Marano, Kim Fajardo, Gen Casugod, Jaja Santiago, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Frances Molina, Alyssa Valdez and Jovelyn Gonzaga. 

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