UAAP: UE Lady Warriors land sought-after recruits Casiey Dongallo, Jelaica Gajero and 3 others
MANILA, Philippines — The core of California Academy, led by Casiey Dongallo and Jelaica Gajero, have chosen the University of the East as their college school.
The school on Wednesday announced that the members of one of the strongest high school volleyball teams in the country have committed to beef up the Lady Warriors ahead of UAAP Season 86.
California’s hard-hitting pair Dongallo and Gajero as well as setter Kizzie Madriaga and Grace Fernandez will be reuniting with former coach Jerry Yee, who will now call the shots for UE.
Aside from the California Academy quartet, Claire Castillo of Maryhill College has also committed to joining the Lady Warriors.
“Having the Cali Babies commit to our team is such a crucial part of our rebuilding process. We all know what they can bring to the table, and as a team, we are very excited to have them be part of our journey,” said Lady Warriors team manager Jared Lao after the quintet made their commitments to Strong Group Athletics founder Frank Lao and Yee on Tuesday at Gloria Maris Restaurant Greenhills in San Juan.
Joining the five players is California Academy coach Obet Vital, who will be part of Yee’s coaching staff.
After ruling the Shakey’s Invitational Volleyball League, Dongallo bared that the core of California Academy considered turning pro, amid the offers of other schools. But they chose to join UE, which has yet to reach the Final Four since 2007 when Sue Roces led the team to a third-place finish.
California Academy made waves when it joined the maiden Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) Champions League in 2021, beating Petro Gazz and placing fifth in the tournament.
The high school team ruled the following Champions League season last year with Dongallo winning the MVP. They also dominated the 2023 PNVF Under-18 Girls’ Tournament
Dongallo and Gajero also received invitations to be part of the Philippine women’s volleyball team.
UE is hopeful with its biggest recruits after only winning a total of two matches in the past two UAAP seasons.