Aby Maraño may have missed the shortlist for the World Club Women’s Championships but Friday’s festivities at the Crimson Hotel proved anew how the old adage about doors closing and windows opening still holds true.
In a press conference organized by the PSL, Foton, who will be representing the country in the 2016 Asian Club Women’s Championship happening in Manila on September, announced its 20-woman talent pool and, not surprisingly, Maraño is being considered to make the final roster.
“Sobrang thankful ko sa Foton management, kina coach Vilet (Ponce de Leon) na nandun pa rin ang tiwala kahit na ang daming mga players na talentado sa Pilipinas,” she told FOX Sports.
“Maipapakita ko ulit ‘yung talento na meron ako,” she added. “Nakaka-boost siya ng passion kasi para sa isang atleta na mapasama sa international tournament, buhay namin ‘yan eh. Parang way ito para mabuhay pa ‘yung passion ko lalo.”
Maraño, who is currently playing for F2 Logistics, will be undergoing weeks of training with the Tornadoes as the list gets trimmed down leading to the tournament’s opener.
The 3-time UAAP champion will be slugging it out against the likes of Jaja Santiago, Maika Ortiz, Shirley Salamagos and Angeli Araneta who are all listed as middle blockers.
“Sa tingin ko, despite my height, nakita nila na lumalaban ako.,” she said, talking about what Foton’s coaching staff probably saw in her.
“Hindi naging hindrance sa akin ‘yung height ko as a middle blocker para hindi ako maka-block o makalaro ng mabuti. Nakita nila ‘yung worth ko,” shared the Antipolo native. “Masasabi ko rin na sa lahat na nilaruan ko ng national team, nagampanan ko naman ‘yung trabaho ko ng mabuti kaya nandun pa din ‘yung tiwala ng mga coaches.”
One of the most recent display of Maraño’s ‘all-out, all heart’ brand of play in the international stage was when she delivered a rousing performance for the PH team during last year’s Southeast Asian Games in Singapore despite coming off the bench.
Fans of the sport have, time and again, read stories about the spiker defying the norms and conquering new frontiers through her sheer determination and her patented BMDC mentality which basically means there’s no stopping her when her inner beast is unleashed.
“Lalaban talaga ako kasi pangarap ko na makasama. Wala na nga ako sa world diba?” said the former La Salle star with the familiar fire burning in her eyes.
“Binigyan ako ng pagkakataon ni Lord na ipakita ang kaya kong gawin, ipaglalaban ko ito hanggang sa dulo para sa bansa, para sa passion ko sa volleyball at para sa mga taong hindi katangkaran,” she added.
Standing at 5-foot-9, Maraño has made a name for her self after showing the sport’s growing number of followers how height truly is just a number and she hopes to inspire the next generation of athletes to never be limited by how others stereotype them by being ‘short.’
“Sabi ko nga, para ma-inspire ‘yung mga bata na hindi porke maliliit kayo, wala na kayong kayang gawin,” Maraño said. “It’s more of the heart and how you will be able to execute your plays. Even if people tell you that you can’t play tall, you keep improving.”
“Maliit lang ako sa height pero malaki ang puso ko,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio