FORMER University of the Philippines (UP) stalwart Isa Molde and Marist Layug start a new phase of their promising young career as both have decided to turn pro with the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters in the Premier Volleyball League.

UP stars Molde - UP stars Molde, Layug off to pro league
University of the Philippines’s Isa Molde (No. 10) rises against University of the East’s Janeca Janine Lana (No. 1) and Seth Marione Rodriguez (No. 7) during the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE AGCAOILI

Molde and Layup have skipped their final playing year with the Fighting Maroons in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). The two UP stars played two matches for their school last year before the UAAP season was scrapped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But before signing them, PLDT Home Fibr head coach Roger Gorayeb and team manager Bajjie Del Rosario made sure to clear it up with the Lady Maroons brass first. UP gave PLDT their full blessing to sign them.

“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, who owns 39 NCAA championships and is just one of two triple crown coaches in the V-League.

“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.

Molde, a 5-foot-7 outside hitter from Catmon, Cebu, was the top rookie for UAAP Season 78. Her biggest individual achievement happened in 2018 when she won both Conference and Finals MVP during the 2018 PVL Collegiate Conference.

Molde, 22, also played for Foton and Motolite.

“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,” Gorayeb said about his expectations for Molde.

On the other hand, Layug, a 6-foot blocker from Quezon City, has long been sought after by Gorayeb.

“Si Marist kasi nung nasa National University 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.

Molde and Layug join Eli Soyud, Chin Basas, Yeye Gabarda, and Nieza Viray as the newest acquisitions of PLDT.

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