Fighting Maroons secure 2 best volleyball prospects from Visayas

Fighting Maroons secure 2 best volleyball prospects from Visayas

THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippines (UP) may have missed out on securing the top-ranked high school basketball player but it scooped up two of the country’s best volleyball prospects from the Visayas.

Under the watch of program director Oliver Almadro, the Fighting Maroons landed a Palarong Pambansa Most Valuable Player (MVP)P in Jothea Mae Ramos and CESAFI champion Joanneesse Gabrielle Perez to shore up their young squad for the upcoming University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 86 next month.

From Bacolod Tay Tung, Ms. Ramos steered Western Visayas to the 2023 Palarong Pambansa crown and bagged the Tournament MVP plum at the expense of powerhouse National Capital Region represented by National University.

Ms. Perez, for her part, anchored Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu to the CESAFI title in 2022 and a runner-up finish last year. “The UP volleyball program and the UP community are really happy for the commitment of these two high school standouts. Aside from their talents, they will bring their aggressiveness and leadership to our UP WVT,” said Mr. Almadro, the former Ateneo de Manila University mentor.

With two prized recruits now on deck to join a promising unit led by UAAP’s Second Best Middle Blocker and national team member Niña Ytang, UP is out to snap a long Final Four drought since last making it in Season 79 led by now Philippine Volleyball League stars Tots Carlos and Isa Molde.

The Fighting Maroons, now enjoying massive support from businessman Frank Lao including the men’s team, finished with a dismal 1-13 record last season. But they left no stone unturned in preparing for this season with a runner-up finish behind NCAA champion College of St. Benilde in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Challenge Cup, which they hope to ride on with new additions.

The UP men’s basketball team earlier this month nursed the commitment withdrawal of No. 1 high school prospect Jared Bahay, who just finished his junior play with a CESAFI three-peat for Ateneo de Cebu University. — John Bryan Ulanday