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Ramil de Jesus legacy shines in PVL draft spotlight as La Salle stalwarts sweep top 4

JR Isaga

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Ramil de Jesus legacy shines in PVL draft spotlight as La Salle stalwarts sweep top 4

GREEN LIGHT. Former La Salle women's volleyball players Maicah Larroza, Leila Cruz, Thea Gagate, and Julia Coronel (7th to 10th from left) pose for a photo after the 2024 PVL Rookie Draft

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Former La Salle women's volleyball standouts credit none other than legendary coach Ramil de Jesus as a big reason why the Lady Spikers swept the PVL Rookie Draft top four

MANILA, Philippines – La Salle women’s volleyball standouts were hot commodities to kick off the historic 2024 PVL Rookie Draft last Monday, July 8, as the first four picks, led by the towering Thea Gagate at first overall to ZUS Coffee, all came from the same vaunted Lady Spikers program.

Wing spiker Leila Cruz, still recovering from an ACL tear that prematurely ended her UAAP career, went second overall to Capital1, while Gagate’s fellow Alas Pilipinas teammate Julia Coronel got off the board at third to Galeries Tower.

Although the trio were somewhat expected to all be picked very early in the first-ever draft in Philippine professional volleyball history, Farm Fresh kicked up the surprise factor after taking former La Salle role player Maicah Larroza fourth overall, capping off a dominating start for the Lady Spikers.

Asked about the stunning La Salle sweep that kickstarted a highly interesting 23-player draft, the former Lady Spikers quickly pointed out the real reason of the repetitive picking trend at the top: the invaluable teachings of legendary head coach Ramil de Jesus.

“We know that coach Ramil’s system has been proven and tested for how many years, so it’s a great feeling to see my teammates get drafted and hopefully, my other teammates who have not been selected can also go to good teams,” Coronel said in Filipino.

“Coach Ramil was an instrument in my achievements in the team,” Larroza added in Filipino. “He was my coach since I started playing volleyball, so I think he will always be a huge inspiration in my rise to the pro level.”

Sure enough, Coronel’s wish was eventually granted as Capital1 paired Cruz with a familiar face in winger Gilliana Torres with the 20th overall pick, thus cleaning out all former De Jesus players from the draft board.

“I think this is a product of our sacrifices and hard work, because the journey we went through in La Salle was of a different class,” Larroza continued. “We all look forward to achieve our dreams here in the PVL.”

Now stepping into a league littered with Lady Spikers legends like Aby Maraño, Kianna Dy, Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, and Dawn Catindig, this new batch of De Jesus proteges are bound to shift Philippine volleyball’s landscape into a different, dominant form, as only La Sallians can. –

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