Rebuilding the dynasty.
This is how Jhoanna Maraguinot looks at the next 6 months for Ateneo’s women’s volleyball team as she and the rest of the squad jumpstart the off-season representing the Philippines at the 2016 ASEAN University Games in Singapore.
After the Katipunan crew’s runner-up finish in Season 78, a big chunk of its core in Alyssa Valdez and Amy Ahomiro bid their goodbyes to the team as they have no more years of eligibility left.
This, Maraguinot says, makes the coming tournaments exciting for the Lady Eagles.
“Sobrang excited kasi we have a new team. Rebuilding kami at sobrang exciting na hindi namin alam ang ie-expect namin sa isa’t isa at sa kung ano’ng pwede namin mailaro,” she told FOX Sports.
Talking about how they are adjusting to the changes so far, she adds: “Masaya naman kasi mga bata kami lahat. Nagkukulitan lang kami. Para kaming naglalaro lang. Sobrang saya sa mga training.”
The Lady Eagles were fortunate enough to still have Valdez in the fold as they battle the best collegiate teams in Singapore but this will not be the case come 2017.
And despite losing 2 in a row against Indonesia and Thailand, the outside hitter from Batangas still believes that the intense competition will play a big role in putting their bid to remain a contender on high gear right away.
“Sobrang laking part ang ipe-play nito sa rebuilding namin. Dun kami mag-aaral mag gel,” she said, talking about playing abroad.
“Feeling ko naman hindi siya magiging sobrang hirap kasi halos magkaka-age kami at feeling namin naglalaro lang kami,” she added. “Siguro less pressure siya kasi wala sa isip namin na: ‘Baka pag nagkamali ako magalit sila.’ Hindi katulad sa UAAP.”
“This time medyo relaxed lang kami at laro lang kami. Iga-guide lang namin ang isa’t isa.”
From this point on, Maraguinot, along with Bea de Leon and Michelle Morente, will have to play bigger roles as they are now considered the veterans of the squad.
To this, she quips: “Ang tanda ko na!”
Turning a bit more serious, the La Salle-Lipa alumna acknowledges how she needs to step-up sooner rather than later especially in the leadership department.
“Kailangan ko pa rin mag improve. Hindi naman siya sa may pressure pero siyempre kailangan mong gawin ang mag gustong ipagawa sa’yo para tularan ka rin nung mga bata,” she admitted.
On leading by example, she adds: “Dapat maging good example ka para sa kanila kasi given na seniors na kami. For sure, kami ‘yung titignan ng mga bagong pasok at sa amin sila titingin kung nahihirapan sila.” — By Mac Dionisio