MANILA - Veteran setter Rhea Dimaculangan is PLDT's final acquisition ahead of the upcoming volleyball season, the team confirmed on Sunday.
Dimaculangan will be the primary playmaker for the Power Hitters as they gear up for the first professional season of the Premier Volleyball League, which opens in April or May in a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
It will be a reunion of sorts for Dimaculangan and PLDT head coach Roger Gorayeb.
"Si Rhea kasi kabisado ko na. Naging setter ko siya sa national team, nakapag-champion din kami dati sa Sandugo, pati sa mga laro sa probinsya," said Gorayeb, recalling the times he had Dimaculangan as his setter in 2013 and 2015 with the national team and with Sandugo-San Sebastian during the 2012 V-League Open Conference.
"Talagang kilala ko na si Rhea at sanay na rin siya sa akin," he added.
Dimaculangan previously played for Foton, Petron, and Generika-Ayala in the Philippine Superliga (PSL). The former University of Santo Tomas (UST) star has won the PSL Best Setter award three times, and was the Most Valuable Player in the 2018 PSL All-Filipino Conference.
She joins former Generika teammates Eli Soyud, Chin Basas, and Yeye Gabarda; San Beda product Nieza Viray; and UP stalwarts Isa Molde and Marist Layug as the key pick-ups for PLDT in the off-season.
Holdovers from last year are Shola Alvarez, Jorelle Singh, Aiko Urdas, Joyce Sta. Rita, Vira Guillema, Kath Villegas, and Alyssa Eroa.
With their deep lineup, Gorayeb is confident that the Power Hitters can compete against any team in the country.
"Masaya na ako sa team na ito kasi parang nagkaroon ng rebirth yung PLDT dahil sa mga bagong players. Naging kumpleto na siya. Yung huling championship ko sa Bali Pure, mixture talaga yun ng NU at San Sebastian," said Gorayeb about the Bali Pure team that won the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.
"Itong team na ito, halo-halo na talaga ng players na nagsisimula na sa pros. Parang halos batang-bata yung team na ito pero based on their experience, laban na sila. Lalaban yung team na ito," he guaranteed.