Thea Gagate becomes first-ever top pick of PVL Rookie Draft

Thea Gagate is the top overall pick of this year’s PVL Rookie Draft (PVL)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers superstar middle blocker Thea Gagate officially became the no. 1 pick of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Rookie Draft on July 8, 2024.

Already rumored as the undisputed top pick of the 2024 PVL Rookie batch, Gagate formalized everything after getting selected by the ZUS Coffee Thunderbelles, formerly known as the Strong Group Athletics.

Last June 18, 2024, ZUS Coffee already hinted at picking Gagate when they secured the no. 1 pick during the lottery ceremony that took place at the TV5 Media Center.

According to ZUS Coffee head coach Jerry Yee during the lottery ceremony, the franchise is looking for an immediate impact player who can help the squad in many ways.

That one proved to be Gagate as the towering defensive anchor is a three-time UAAP Best Middle Blocker awardee and is also a collegiate champion.

Gagate is fresh off a historic stint with the Alas Pilipinas women’s volleyball national team in the AVC Challenge Cup where they finished with a bronze medal, the nation’s first-ever podium finish in the prestigious international tournament.

However, Gagate and the rest of the Alas squad failed to advance during the FIVB Challenger Cup as they lost to Vietnam in three straight sets.

With the vast experience Gagate already had at such a young age, ZUS Coffee is expecting her to deliver right away when the PVL season kicks off.

Gagate and the rest of the revamped ZUS Coffee franchise are already eager to bounce back from such a disappointing All-Filipino Conference as they finished the season with a winless campaign.

Coming in at no. 2 is Gagate’s teammate at DLSU, Leila Cruz, an athletic opposite hitter who was drafted by the Capital1 Power Spikers.

For the third lottery pick, Julia Coronel, the setter of Gagate and Cruz at DLSU, was chosen by the Galeries Tower Highrisers.

Capping off the first round of the PVL draft were Maicah Larroza, Lucille Almonte, Stephanie Bustrillo, Ishie Lalongisip, Angelica Alcantara, Karen Verdeflor, Antonette Adolfo, Lorraine Pecaña, and Aleiah Torres.

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