Showered with love, PH return is Legrand’s top priority

Levi Verora
Showered with love, PH return is Legrand’s top priority
Power Pinoys import player Cedric Legrand played a big role in elevating the Philippine men's volleyball team. The Australian hopes to return one day for a second run at glory

MANILA, Philippines – The aftermath of the Power Pinoys’ thrilling 5-set win over Lebanon in the 2014 PLDT Home Fibr Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship was overwhelming for newcomer Cedric Legrand, as the partisan crowd stalked the Australian reinforcement wherever he went while at the Mall of Asia Arena lobby.

Fans swarmed the Coral Way lobby, wanting to get a good photo or signature of the former Victorian League Most Valuable Player, who in return took a moment to grant the supporters’ wishes.

Delighted with his maiden trip to the archipelago, says that the outpour of support he and the team received helped elevate their performance.

“The crowd just helped us win. Without them, it would have been tougher for us, but in the important stages they just went behind us,” said Legrand.

“We were playing unbelievable volleyball,” he quipped of the first two sets the Philippines took over Al Zahra of Lebanon.

The Power Pinoys showcased their winning form in their battle for 7th affair against Lebanon, playing with killer instinct and alert defense to bag the consolation.

Legrand added the running attack is something the Philippines could utilize to their advantage.

“The running attack is one thing we do in practice and the other teams can’t block it. It is more used in the women’s game but bringing it to the men’s game is unexpected and it was effective for us,” he said.

A learning experience

The 25-year-old Melbourne, Australia native packed tons of international experience heading into the competition, yet he still thinks the 9-day tournament was a learning experience for him and the squad.

(RELATED: Power Pinoys: Happy with progress, thirsting for competitiveness)

He suited up for the Philippines as an import, together with fellow Australian William Lewis, to boost their roster. Their efforts paid off in the final day, bagging 7th place.

“It was a learning experience from the start but in the final day it all came together,” he told Rappler.

He considers playing with Christian Savani – a two-time Italian Olympic medalist who suited up for Al Rayyan of Qatar – as is his favorite moment.

“Playing against Savani is my favorite, he is an Olympian and a very decorated player. After the game, getting respect from him is amazing,” said the 6-foot-2 open spiker.

Next in line

Legrand will leave on Sunday to continue training for the local leagues there, but he is already thinking of a return trip to the Southeast Asian country.

“I’ll continue training for my club team in Australia, but getting a contract for the second season of your Super Liga is definitely an option,” said Legrand, who undeniably fell in love with the country.

“To be honest, the Philippines is on top of the list as of the moment because of the experience. The crowd, the sponsors, the teammates.”

And he promised: “I will definitely return sometime in the future.” –

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