WATCH: Aby Maraño expects PH team to make SEA Games finals
MANILA, Philippines - Even with the limited time they have to prepare for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, PH volleyball team veteran Abigail Maraño has high expectations for the national team to reach the gold-medal match.
The Philippines, who will be in action beginning June 10, Wednesday, is in Group B along with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Composed of both collegiate and pro players, the squad will aim to win the country’s first volleyball gold in the SEA Games since 1993.
“Ang expectation ko talaga, mag finals kami, mag finals talaga kami,” Maraño told Rappler after the national team’s training session on Thursday, May 28, at the Blue Eagle Gym at Ateneo de Manila University.
“Mahirap na magsabi na hindi pa tapos, pero yung finals, hindi imposible maabot yun eh. Kung gugustuhin mo talaga, makakaya. And the way I see it, yung mga teammates ko, very competitive lahat.”
(My expectation is to really make the finals. It’s hard to say that now that we aren’t there yet, but making the finals is not impossible. If we really want it, we can achieve it. And the way I see it, my teammates are very competitive.)
Maraño is no stranger to competing at the highest level of volleyball tournaments. During her career with the DLSU Lady Spikers in the UAAP, the two-time UAAP MVP helped lead the team to 3 championships and 5 finals appearances. Just this month, she helped steer Petron to a Philippine Superliga title.
One of the biggest reasons why the 22-year-old athlete believes her team has what it takes to accomplish the goal she has in mind is because of the dedication they’ve shown to training since being assembled in the second week of May.
Other than Maraño, 2-time UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez, the Santiago Sisters Jaja and Dindin, Denden Lazaro, Gretchel Soltones, Jia Morado, Bea De Leon, Rachel Ann Daquis, Maika Ortiz, Jovelyn Gonzaga, and Rhea Dimaculangan make up the 12-woman roster. Aiza Maizo-Pontillas is going to be a reserve player and assistant coach to Roger Gorayeb.
“Sobrang nakakatuwa yung feeling na mag tra-training ka tapos lahat nang kasama mo ang gagaling,” said Maraño. “Parang mas nakaka-inspire mag laro kaysa sa may nakikita ka pa petiks-petiks lang. Wala sa team namin. Lahat, very aggressive and very intense when it comes to training, talaga lahat bigay todo.”
(It’s really a great feeling that you train with others who are really good. It really inspires you to play more as opposed to those who take it easy. There aren’t any of those in our team. Everyone is aggressive and intense when it comes to training and everyone gives their all.)
(INFOGRAPHIC: Meet the SEA Games Philippine women's volleyball team)
Maraño also finds pride in being one of the athletes chosen to represent the country in the SEA Games. The 2015 SEA Games will mark the Philippines’ return to the volleyball tournament in 10 years, making it more special than other seasons.
“Mas nakaka-proud, kasi sa dami nang mga atleta dito sa bansa natin, isa ako sa maglalaro para sa Pilipinas,” said Marano, who plays the middle-hitter position. “Kailangan maging proud ka rin talaga sa sarili mo para meron kang pride na ipakita sa bansa mo na karapat-dapat ka mag representa.”
(It really makes me proud because from all the athletes in our country, I was one of those who will play for the Philippines. You really need to be proud of yourself so that you can show that you are deserving to represent the country.)