FAR Eastern University setter Gel Cayuna has decided to forego her final UAAP women’s volleyball season to suit up for the Perlas Spikers in the now-pro PVL.
The cancellation of UAAP Season 83 tournaments last December forced Cayuna to make up her mind and join her former Lady Tamaraws teammate Heather Guino-o in the Perlas Spikers roster.
In an interview with the school’s campus paper The Advocate, the 22-year old Cayuna initially has planned to finish her final playing year for FEU.
“Last season buo na talaga decision ko na tapusin ang playing year kaya lang na-cancel dahil sa COVID-19. So baka 2022 pa ata babalik ang UAAP sa pagkakaalam ko kaya naisipan ko na ibigay na lang sa teammates ko ang slot,” said Cayuna.
The UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament, which only saw four playing dates, was terminated in April due to the extension of the Luzon-wide lockdown.
The 5-foot-7 setter is expected to take turns with veteran Jem Ferrer in the playmaking chores for Perlas, one of the pioneering PVL clubs which has yet to win a championship.
The Tamaraws mentality-training program of the Perlas Spikers was one of the reasons why Cayuna joined the club.
It also helped that coach Rei Diaz and assistant coach Manolo Refugia, who are with the FEU coaching staff, are part of the Perlas Spikers.
“Kasi sa Perlas nandoon sila coach Rei and coach Manolo. Kaya ko rin nagustuhan doon and siyempre ‘yung training program nila, ‘yung pagiging dugong Tamaraw nandoon pa rin,” said Cayuna.
Having together with Guino-o, who transfered from Creamline last year, is an advantage since their communication and familiarity with each other, which hopes to translate into success for Perlas.
Cayuna and Guino-o last played together for FEU in 2019 when it lost to eventual champion Ateneo in a do-or-die semifinals.
Cayuna was the Lady Tamaraws’ main setter last year.
The Perlas Spikers also got a boost with the acquisition of Thang Ponce and Jelli Tempiatura, both formerly from Motolite, to strengthen their libero position.