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Thea Gagate embraces pressure of being consensus top pick

Consensus top overall pick Thea Gagate brushed aside the pressure as she focuses on helping ZUS Coffee move past its winless campaign and soar to new heights in the Premier Volleyball League.

Thunderbelles head coach Jerry Yee earlier revealed during the Draft Combine that the team had already singled out Gagate as their number one pick in the upcoming PVL Rookie Draft on July 8.

The 6-foot-2 middle blocker from La Salle, who is poised to go down as the first-ever top selection in PVL Draft history, expressed her honor at being chosen by ZUS Coffee and promised to give her all to help the team.

“For my part, I’ll just really do my best na matulungan ‘yung team na umangat ‘yung ranking nila sa PVL,” said Gagate during the Draft Combine at the Gameville Ballpark.

“There’s always gonna be pressure but I’ll put that aside and just focus on working hard on myself and I’ll be good.”

Gagate is set to team up with former College of St. Benilde players led by reigning NCAA MVP and Best Setter Cloanne Mondoñedo, Gayle Pascual, Jade Gentapa, and Michelle Gamit as they aim to help the team recover from their 0-11 showing in the All-Filipino Conference.

PVL-Draft-Combine-Thea-Gagate-1121 Thea Gagate embraces pressure of being consensus top pick News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

(C) Joaqui Flores/PVL

“Of course, I’m very honored na ako ‘yung first choice nila and I’m grateful for it, sobra,” said the three-time UAAP Best Middle Blocker.

“I just hope na I will go there soon. Siyempre masaya kasi nakikita nila ‘yung efforts ko as a player and na-aappreciate nila ‘yun. Hopefully, mapakita ko (pa ‘yung skills ko) sa future team ko.”

The 23-year-old Gagate, who played a crucial role in Alas Pilipinas’ historic bronze finish in the 2024 AVC Challenge Cup, said that she is eager to bring her national team experience to the Thunderbelles.

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“It’s gonna be challenging talaga kasi pero very exciting din kasi coming into the national team, I also wish to bring new learnings to my new team sa PVL para matulungan kong umangat ‘yung ranking nila,” said Gagate.

“Very surprising kasi hindi ko talaga inexpect na ganito ‘yung mangyayari this year. My last collegiate season didn’t end well but I’m very grateful as well na nakasama ako sa national team and we also won bronze. I hope things will go better for the rest of the year.”

However, Gagate’s availability for ZUS Coffee in the Reinforced Conference remains uncertain as she is slated to play for Alas Pilipinas in the FIVB Challenger Cup and the SEA V.League.

“For that, I’m not really sure as to what I could say but hopefully, everything’s fine.”

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