Janel Maraguinot leads Calabarzon to Palaro gold medal game

LEGAZPI CITY — Another Maraguinot is making a name in volleyball.

Setter Janel Maraguinot is aiming to step out of the shadows of her more recognizable sister, Ateneo open hitter Jho, as she tries to lead Calabarzon to the gold medal in the 2016 Palarong Pambansa secondary girls volleyball tournament at the oven-hot Bicol College gymnasium in Daraga.

The 5-foot-5 Maraguinot, an incoming Eleventh Grader at De La Salle-Lipa, provided the stability for the Southern Tagalog bets as they booted out Negros Island Region with ease, 25-17, 25-16 in their semifinals showdown infront of a big Friday crowd.

While her ‘Ate’ Jhoana has become one of the potent scorers in the ongoing UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tourney, Janel is very pleased of her continued development as a setter.

“Nu’ng elementary, setter and spiker po ang role ko. Pero nu’ng high school, nag-focus na po ako as a setter,” shared Maraguinot. “Siyempre nakaka-overwhelmed rin po kasi kaming magkakapatid, mataas ang (level na) pinaglalaruan.”

Maraguinot admitted several schools have already expressed their interest to recruit her but that could wait—at least after 2 years if and when she stays at La Salle-Lipa.

“May kumakausap? Yes. Pero malayo pa ‘yan. Huwag na muna nating pag-isipan,” she said. “Kung makakasama pa sa ganito (Palaro), may 2 years pa. Kaya matagal pa ‘yun. High school life muna.”

Standing in the way of Calabarzon for the gold medal in annual multi-sporting meet is powerhouse National Capital Region, which defeated Davao Region, 25-15, 25-19, in their own semis pairing.

The winner-take-all finals is set on Saturday morning at the same venue. — By Jerome Lagunzad