UAAP Season 81 saw the rise of talented rookies like Eya Laure, Jolina dela Cruz, Lycha Ebon, and Ivy Lacsina. But some players will leave the competition for good. Still, their volleyball journey continues even if their collegiate playing days are over.
From foes to teammates
Former Lady Falcon Eli Soyud will play with UP setter Ayel Estranero in Team Motolite for the PVL Reinforced Conference. Two-time PVL MVP Myla Pablo will lead the new squad which also features Thang Ponce, Isa Molde, and Tots Carlos.
It could be a reunion of sorts between Soyud and rumored Motolite head coach Air Padda. Possibly joining Padda on her staff is current Lady Maroons mentor Godfrey Okumu. Other Motolite players include UP’s Marist Layug and former Adamson athletes Fenela Emnas and Jellie Tempiatura.
The pride of La Carlota City finished Season 81 with 101 attacks, 24 blocks, and 12 service aces. However, her squad finished at the cellar with a 2-12 record. Meanwhile, Estranero is the third best setter in UAAP Season 81. But her 26 faults is second-most to MJ Igao’s 29.
Returning to their commercial clubs
It’s highly likely that most of the graduates will return to their semi-pro teams. In the PSL, Ateneo’s Bea de Leon could rejoin the Foton Tornadoes. Same goes for Roselyn Doria who will return to the Cignal HD Spikers.
UE’s Kath Arado will player for the Generika Ayala Lifesavers after another Best Libero-worthy performance. She will also return as an assistant coach for the Lady Warriors in Season 82.
Likewise, Cherry Ann Rondina will come back to the Petron Blaze Spikers. Jerrili Malabanan makes her way back to PLDT while Judith Abil will play for Marinerang Pilipina with Seth Rodriguez.
Desiree Cheng will still be under Coach Ramil de Jesus in F2. There’s no word yet whether Lourdes Clemente will be signed by the Cargo Movers.
Rica Rivera might rejoin the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors and give Juliet Catindig a challenge in the starting libero spot. Joy Dacoron will certainly return to Banko Perlas to team up with Dzi Gervacio, Kathy Bersola, and Nicole Tiamzon.
The PVL Reinforced Conference will start on May 26 while the PSL All Filipino Conference will begin in June.
It’s unclear where Heather Guino-o and Kyle Negrito will play because the Tacloban Fighting Warays seem to have been dissolved.
There’s no news yet where the UE trio of Roselle Baliton, Laizah Bendong, and Jasmine Alcayde will suit up. Baliton was once part of the Lady Realtors under Coach George Pascua. Likewise, Bendong leads the UAAP Season 81 Best Setter race. Teams looking for a playmaker must keep an eye on her.
But Maddie Madayag is the most noteworth free agent of all. There have been gossip that she could join Motolite or one of the PSL squads. There’s no rush for her, though, as she will have much time to think about it after the Finals against UST.
Playing for country
Arado and Malabanan are part of the National Team training pool for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games. Other college players joining them are Laure, Carlos, Angel Cayuna, and Celine Domingo. Also part of the pool are Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago, Mika Reyes, and Aby Marano to name a few.
Meanwhile, it seems like Rondina might team up with Bernadeth Pons to represent the country in the SEA Games beach volleyball tournament. While this is not yet final, it’s likely to happen as their tandem has produced positive results in the past. Therefore, they could be one of the four Philippine teams that will battle for a medal on sand.