‘Power ni coach Tai,’ says Jho Maraguinot of key to big comeback

It was heart strong at its finest. 

Down and out after wasting several points in the second set, Ateneo went back and stole Game 2 from La Salle to even the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball finals series at one game apiece.

What suddenly went right for the Lady Eagles?

“Power ni coach Tai. Yun lang masasabi ko,” said Jho Maraguinot, who played better in the last 3 sets after being silent in the first 2 frames of their matchup Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Nasa pagka-heart strong na rin yun. Kasi sa training, ginagawa namin yun,” she added. “Hindi talaga pwede bumigay. Hangga’t sa matapos yung training, kailangan buhay kami.”

This training came in handy, especially in the third set, when the Lady Eagles had to overcome the mental toll of a second-set meltdown to keep their season alive.

Helping Alyssa Valdez, who scored 34 big points in the miracle comeback, were second-year players Maraguinot and Bea de Leon, who combined for 27 markers.

The Batangas native they battled hard to extend Valdez’s season and give her a fitting goodbye to her UAAP career.

“Siguro sabi namin na kailangan namin lumaban, kasi coming to the game and mindset namin na para kay Ate Ly ito. Kaya kailangan namin lumaban para sa kanya,” she said. “Para na rin sa isa’t isa. Kumukuha lang kami ng energy sa isa’t isa.”

Coming into the do-or-die Game 3, Maraguinot hopes to contribute better — not just on offense, but more on defense — as the Lady Eagles vie for a 3-peat.

However, she would prefer a shorter match. Of course, it’s with Ateneo coming on top in the end.

“Sana walang five-sets, nakakapagod eh. For sure, lahat lalaban. Gawin lang ulit namin yung ginawa namin kanina. Hangga’t hindi pa tapos laban lang.” — By Arylle Magtalas