MANILA, Philippines -- Former UAAP Rookie of the Year Isa Molde and middle blocker Marist Layug have decided to forego their final seasons of eligibility with University of the Philippines and turn professional instead.
The two players are the newest members of the PLDT Power Hitters roster, as confirmed by head coach Roger Gorayeb and team manager Bajjie Del Rosario.
UP management gave their full blessing for Layug and Molde to join the Power Hitters, who will reportedly play in the Premier Volleyball League in its upcoming season.
"Nakausap namin ni Sir Bajjie yung adviser nila na si Direk [Mandy Reyes]. Sinabi naman sa amin na bibigyan na nila ng chance yung dalawa na tignan na kung ano ang makakabuti sa kanilang career," said Gorayeb.
"Masaya na sila sa nabigay ni Isa at Marist sa four years nila sa UP -- sa exposure at mga naibigay nila sa programa," he added.
Both Molde and Layug are in their final semesters as students in UP.
The 22-year-old Molde won the UAAP Rookie of the Year award in Season 78, and was the Conference and Finals MVP in the 2018 PVL Collegiate Conference. She has previously played for Motolite in the PVL.
"Si Isa, outside hitter 'yan e. Malaking bagay yung exposure niya sa UP at sa mga nalaruan niya na teams. Malaki ang madadala niya sa team natin," said Gorayeb.
The multi-titled mentor is also looking forward to working with Layug, a player he has long tried to recruit even when he was still coaching National University.
"Si Marist kasi nung nasa NU na ako, isa 'yan sa mga gusto kong kunin. Kaso hindi kami nagkaroon ng chance na makausap siya kasi ibang tao ang kumausap sa kanya that time. Sabi na lang niya sa akin na mag-UP na siya," shared Gorayeb.
"At least ngayon, makakapagsama na kami."
Layug was also part of Motolite last year.
Molde and Layug join Eli Soyud, Chin Basas, Yeye Gabarda, and Nieza Viray as the newest acquisitions of PLDT.
"Malaki yung nakikita kong future nila kasi excited akong ma-coach sila. Excited akong mabigyan ng ibang style of play, something new for them," said Gorayeb as he awaits the go-signal for the resumption of volleyball training.