ISA Molde and Marist Layug are forgoing their final playing year for University of the Philippines, joining join PLDT Home Fibr in the Premier Volleyball League.
The Power Hitters on Saturday announced their newest players, joining recent additions Eli Soyud, Chin Basas, Yeye Gabarda and Nieza Viray.
Molde and Layug played two matches for UP last year before the UAAP season was scrapped due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
With the uncertainties over UAAP's return aside from player eligibility, the two UP stars decided to turn pro.
The two Lady Maroons helped deliver a PVL Collegiate Conference championship to UP, ending the school's 36-year title drought. Molde won both Conference and Finals MVP during that run in 2018.
Coach Roger Gorayeb said PLDT team officials discussed the matter with UP before signing Molde and Layug.
"Nakausap namin ni Sir Bajjie (del Rosario, PLDT team manager) 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."
Gorayeb believes that Molde will be a huge boost in PLDT's homecoming in the PVL tentatively set to start in April at Inspire Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
"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," he said on Molde, who was acquired from Motolite due to the team's leave of absence.
With Layug’s entry, Gorayeb also gets his wish as he has been eyeing the 6-foot middle blocker for a while.
"Si Marist kasi nung nasa NU pa 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," he said. "At least ngayon, makakapagsama na kami."
Layug was also part of Motolite two years ago and signed with Sta. Lucia after UAAP was scrapped April last year but she was not able to play a single match until her contract expired as the Philippine Superliga didn't return to action.
The PLDT coach hopes that they can finally return to training soon.
"Malaki yung nakikita kong future nila kasi excited akong ma-coach sila. Excited akong mabigyan ng ibang style of play, something new for them," he said.