MANILA, Philippines -- Rebuilding PLDT scored a coup with the signing of one of the top liberos in the country, along with a veteran middle blocker and a promising outside hitter.
PLDT Home Fibr announced on Sunday that it had signed Kath Arado, the reigning Premier Volleyball League Best Libero.
Also inking contracts with the High Speed Hitters are Jessey de Leon and Mean Mendrez. The trio played for the Petro Gazz Angels in the 2021 PVL Open Conference before mutually parting ways with the team earlier this month.
Arado, who starred for University of the East in college, said that joining PLDT was a no-brainer as she feels she has unfinished business with three of their core members in Rhea Dimaculangan, Chin Basas, and Eli Soyud.
Back in 2020, they were supposed to be part of Generika-Ayala in the Philippine Superliga but the tournament was scrapped due to the ongoing pandemic.
"Actually, to be honest, ang isang factor na nag-decide na sumali ako sa PLDT is yung magiging teammates ko," said the 23-year-old Arado.
"Kami nila Ate Rhea, Chin, at Ate Eli, nagsama-sama nun sa Generika. Kilala ko na po sila eh, at malaking bagay yun. Hindi ako nagdalawang isip na pumunta dito."
Arado was also delighted to still be teammates with Mendrez -- who played with her in UE -- as well as the veteran De Leon.
"Malaking bagay din na makakasama ko sila kasi mayroon din kaming hindi natapos sa Petro Gazz noon," she said.
Arado joins a PLDT franchise that is looking to bounce back after missing the playoffs in 2021, finishing in seventh place. The team retained just four players from its squad in the last year and also replaced head coach Roger Gorayeb with George Pascua.
"Goal ko siyempre is matulungan sila Ate Rhea na makabalik sa top four muna, pero hindi magiging madali yun," said Arado, who reached the Final Four with Petro Gazz last year, eventually finishing in third place.
"Kailangan namin pagtrabahuan at laging mag-improve," she stressed.
The PVL is planning to open its 2022 season next month.