Thea Gagate to be picked No. 1 by ZUS Coffee in PVL Rookie Draft

Thea Gagate to be picked No. 1 by ZUS Coffee in PVL Rookie Draft

/ 03:04 PM June 25, 2024

Thea Gagate PVL Rookie Draft combine ZUS Coffee Thunderbelles

Thea Gagate will be picked number one by the ZUS Coffee Thunderbelles in the upcoming PVL Rookie Draft.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — ZUS Coffee coach Jerry Yee revealed the Thunderbelles are selecting Thea Gagate as the top pick in the PVL Rookie Draft on July 8 at Novotel, barring any change of heart from the management.

Yee on Tuesday bared to the reporters that they’re eyeing the projected top prospect of the 2024 class, Gagate, who will be taking her height and experience from La Salle and Alas Pilipinas to the pro scene.

“Consensus naman yun kung sinong number one jan kasi mas kailangan mo yun e. Height, mobility,” said Yee, referring to the 6-foot-2 Gagate.

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“Wala pang approval ng management but we all agreed on the first name we wanted, si Thea sana. So I’m here to look at the 13th pick.”

READ: ZUS Coffee gets top pick for inaugural PVL Rookie Draft

With a 40 percent chance of getting the top pick, the Thunderbelles were drawn by reigning All-Filipino Conference MVP Brooke Van Sickle of Petro Gazz as the No.1 overall pick in the lottery on Monday evening at TV5 Media Center.

Yee, the former Farm Fresh coach who moved to ZUS Coffee, is confident that the management will approve their decision on picking the three-time UAAP 1st Best Middle Blocker, who won a championship with the Lady Spikers last year.

“I think the management they have long been in contact. Naguusap naman sila,” Yee bared.

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However, Gagate’s availability is up in the air in the Reinforced Conference as she’s part of Alas Pilipinas, which will compete in the FIVB Challenger Cup on July 5 and SEA V.League in August.

READ: Thea Gagate, Julia Coronel headline PVL Rookie Draft

Yee said they are also eyeing to tap Japanese spiker Asaka Tamaru, who led guest team Kurashiki to last year’s Invitational championship.

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“Si coach Shota Sato yung wife niya is Asaka Tamaru and nakita ko sa Japan. Pwede.  Talking kami with her and the new girls and a new chance to be here,” said Yee of Tamaru, who is part of Farm Fresh’s coaching staff.

More than selecting Gagate, Yee is seeking to draft more players from the 13th pick and the succeeding rounds. 

“Hopefully, hindi masyadong kumuha ng younger players yung other teams. Pero at ZUS marami pa kaming slots na pupunuin, one on each position pa lang ang meron or two. Usually you have to have three, four per position,” the ZUS Coffee coach said.

Gagate and the 46 aspirants graced the first day of the combine to undergo anthropometry, which includes a one-minute push-up, standing vertical jump, vertical jump with approach, standing broad jump, modified agility t-test, and 60m shuttle run.

ZUS Coffee, formerly Strong Group Athletics, lost all its 11 games in its debut in the All-Filipino Conference with Yee, who transferred from Farm Fresh to its sister team, bringing NCAA ‘three-peat’ champion College of Saint Benilde players led by Season 99 MVP and Best Setter Cloanne Mondoñedo, Finals MVP Gayle Pascual, Jade Gentapa, and Michelle Gamit.

“Challenging kasi kumbaga hindi na pwede yung sasabihin bagong team ka tapos ganun yung reason mo para panget yung performance mo. At least for us, ayaw namin ng ganun,” said Yee. “Laban lang. Dito nagsisimula, makakuha kami good pieces and from there  you build on that and let’s see kung pano kami [magwork].

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Ang importante sa amin is yung chemistry namin. Confident sa training , program, sipag na nandito kami present, yung results hindi namin hawak yun excited kami. Gusto na namin magsimula,” he added.

TAGS: PVL, Thea Gagate, Zus Coffee Thunderbelles

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