Petro Gazz recruits Julia Ipac and KC Galdones. –UAAP/PVL FILE PHOTOS

Petro Gazz recruits Julia Ipac and KC Galdones. –UAAP/PVL FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines — Petro Gazz beefed up its middle blocker rotation after signing University of Santo Tomas graduating player KC Galdones and returning pro player Julia Ipac ahead of the 2023 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference this June.

The Angels on Thursday welcomed two new middle blockers in their bid to surpass their runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference where it lost to the Creamline Cool Smashers sans Alyssa Valdez in the finals.

Galdones is forgoing her remaining playing year with UST as she followed the footsteps of Eya Laure and Imee Hernandez, who turned pro and joined Chery Tiggo.

The incoming PVL rookie was part of the Tigresses’ Finals run in the UAAP Season 81 four years ago and back-to-back Final Four appearances in the past two seasons.

Ipac, on the other hand, is returning from a one-year hiatus as she last played for the defunct BaliPure team, which placed last in the 2022 Open Conference before taking a leave from the PVL.

The 5-foot-9 middle blocker out of La Salle is no longer a first-timer in the pros as she debuted with Cignal in the 2021 PVL bubble tournament in Ilocos Norte.

Galdones and Ipac will strengthen the frontline of Petro Gazz, which has the two Best Middle Blockers of the Open Conference, Rem Palma and MJ Phillips.

However, it is still unknown if Phillips will stay in the Invitationals as she became the first Filipino import to be drafted into the Korean V-League after being drafted by the Gwangju AI Peppers ahead of the 2023-24 season in October.

The Angels also have Des Clemente, Marian Buitre, and Yeye Gabarda in their middle rotation.

Petro Gazz is seeking a better Invitationals stint as it missed the semifinal round of the midseason tournament last year.

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