No other setter has hoisted the Premier Volleyball League Best Setter hardware after Jia De Guzman took home the last six dating back to 2017.
But on Friday night, De Guzman’s reign was suddenly put to an end after Cignal rising star Gel Cayuna was named the 2022 PVL Open Conference Best Setter — becoming the first player to ever win the trophy after five years.
“Sobrang thankful ko talaga,” said the 23-year-old playmaker.
“Actually, hindi ko inexpect na makuha ko yun basta every day talaga ako nag tiya-tiyaga.”
According to Cayuna, the confidence that she got from her veteran teammates such as Rachel Daquis and Ces Molina played a pivotal role in her sudden rise in this conference.
That, along with her reunion with former college coach Shaq Delos Santos, were the main factors that helped Cayuna blossom.
“Malaking hatak din talaga sakin yung mga teammates ko, sila ate Rachel [Daquis], sila ate Ces [Molina], sobrang lumalakas talaga yung loob ko ‘pag kasama ko sila sa court kasi iba sila kasama, parang ang gaan talaga. Wala ka ng ibang iisipin, ‘di mo na sila iisipin parang performance mo na lang,” shared Cayuna.
“Actually marami talagang nagbago, nadagdagan din yung mga kaalaman ko. Before naman nakakasama ko rin yung coaches sa FEU, may natutunan din naman ako ngayon lang talaga pinulido lang talaga ni coach yung mga kulang ko pa at alam kong marami pa kong matututunan kaya ‘di po ako titigil,” she added.
For his part, Delos Santos is just glad to finally continue her partnership with Cayuna after their partnership in Far Eastern University was cut short.
Moreover, the former national team head coach is also thrilled to finally see Cayuna show showcase her full potential.
“Sobrang happy and proud. Nung nagkaroon kami ng chance na magkasama ulit, sabi ko nga ito na yung chance natin na maituloy natin yung naputol na program before which is yun nga, nabigyan namin siya ng magandang opportunity and nabigyan din ng PVL ng magandang opportunity,” said Delos Santos.
“So I’m sure magiging mas inspired pa kami sa na-reach namin ngayon. Medyo kinapos lang sa semifinals, pero absorb lang kami kasi kasama sa process ng team yun,” he added.
Cignal, which finished the tournament third after placing last in the previous conference, raked in individual awards with Ces Molina taking home the First Best Outside Spiker plum and, Ria Meneses and Rose Doria nabbing the Best Middle Blocker awards.