Former San Francisco State University Gator, Iris Tolenada was picked first overall by the Philips Gold Lady Slammers in the 2015 Superliga draft held at SM Aura earlier today.
The 5’8 setter, Tolenada won multiple awards in her collegiate stint, including the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s MVP trophy in 2012. She is the only player in school history to have won an MVP plum in Women’s Volleyball. She also has the school record for most assists (excellent sets) in a season, which she broke during her time as a rookie. She also led her high school team to multiple state championships before joining heading to SFU.
Tolenada now joins a reinvigorated Philips Gold lineup, which recently signed former La Salle Lady Spikers and Generika Lifesavers, middle blocker Michelle Gumabao, and Libero Melissa Gohing, to shore up their lineup. The Lady Slammers also picked up former NU Lady Bulldog, Desiree Dadang with their second round draft pick. Formerly known as the Mane ‘N Tail Lady Stallions, the Lady Slammers also employed the services of current NU star, Myla Pablo and, former Lady Warrior, Leuseht Dawis.
“I’ve always wanted to play overseas, and I thought this was a good opportunity for me. I’m really looking forward to help elevate volleyball here in the Philippines,” said Tolenada. “I was a coach in the U.S., and I still have that urge to be a player. As long as I can still jump, I still wanted to play. The fact that I was going to be able to play somewhere really fired me up and got me excited to train again.”
The Foton Tornadoes picked former UP Lady Maroon, Angeli Araneta, with the second overall pick. Araneta just came off the most successful UAAP season in recent school history. The 5’11 middle blocker was pivotal in UP’s campaign after star middle blocker, Kathy Bersola was taken out for the season with an ACL tear. Araneta’s signature performance came against the Adamson Lady Falcons as she scored a career-high 23 points in a five-set loss. Foton also picked up Ateneo Libero and reigning UAAP Best Digger and Receiver, Denden Lazaro with their second round pick.
Rica Enclona, who won multiple Best Receiver and Digger awards during her time in the NCAA, joins a Cignal HD Spikers lineup that already features decorated Libero Jheck Dionella. Cignal also drafted former Arellano setter, Diane Ticar, along with one of the former NCAA stars, Season 89 NCAA MVP and Best Scorer, Honey Royse Tubino.
Shopinas.com (formerly Generika) chose former NU Lady Bulldog opposite spiker, Rizza Jane Mandapat with the fourth pick. Mandapat came off her most successful UAAP season, helping the Lady Bulldogs to a third place finish in the tournament and the school’s first Final Four win. Former Lady Blazer setter, Djanel Cheng also went to the Shopinas Lady Clickers after being picked fourth in the second round.
Middle blocker, Therese Veronas continued the incredible representation of the Lady Blazers after being picked fifth overall by Shacman. Former FEU opposite spiker, Samantha Dawson now makes her professional home with Shacman after being selected fifth in the second round.
Another Fil-Am skipper, Alexa Micek was selected sixth overall by the reigning PSL Champs. Sister of current Ateneo Blue Eagle, Cole Micek, Alexa played Libero for the North Carolina State University Wolfpack, but the 5’8 half-Filipina will look to play the opposite spiker position for a team that features established local volleyball stalwarts, Dindin Santiago, Mina Aganon, and recent acquisitions, Rachelle Ann Daquis and Aby Maraño. Petron also picked up the 5’7 former NU setter, Ivy Perez.
“It’s a huge adjustment from just playing the back row and trying to learn the front row. I hit and blocked in practice before but it’s definitely going to be an adjustment playing at the game speed here as an opposite,” quipped Micek when asked about her positional adjustment.