IT was good while it lasted.
Ace outside spiker Jhoana Maraguinot of defending champion Ateneo was looking forward to a dream stint of playing together with her younger sister and Lady Eagle setter Jaja – until the UAAP 82nd season was shut down for good due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Personally, first time ko kasi maglalaro with my (younger) sister so parang excited ako, like everyone in the family na excited dahil maglalaro kami together,” Maraguinot said in The Prospects Pod.
“Alam namin iyong pinagdaanan namin sa training kaya magiging maganda ang season. As a team naman, siyempre lahat ng teams nag-improve din. I mean every season they improve naman and iyon nga, we’re aiming for back-to-back sana,” she added.
Like teammate and 6-foot-2 Fil-Canadian opposite hitter Kat Tolentino, Maraguinot is still undecided if she would return for one last flight together with the Lady Eagles if and when the UAAP gives an extra year for those who did not finish or even suit up in the 82nd season.
“For me, mahirap na decision siya kasi personally, ako matanda na ako so I mean pumasok ako ng Ateneo (when) I was 16, tapos aalis ako if kung maglaro man ako next year, aalis ako ng 25,” explained Maraguinot.
“So parang it’s too long na for me. Sana nag-double major na lang pala ako.”
The 5-foot-8 Maraguinot said she initially refused to accept the fate of the ill-fated 82nd season.
“Noong una, in denial ako noong first time nag-suspend ng game. Sobrang in denial ako na parang hindi naman totoo, hindi ko pinapaniwalaan but then noong sinuspend na talaga, kinansel na iyong season, sobrang na-disappoint ako,” explained Maraguinot.
“Pero doon ko rin nasabi na totoo pala talaga iyong corona (virus) and ang daming apektado.”
Ateneo was holding an even 1-1 card when the much-awaited women’s volleyball tourney was cut short at the start of the government-imposed lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
Other second semester sports that were called off were football, baseball, softball, athletics, lawn tennis, and 3×3 basketball.
Maraguinot, 24, sat out the 81st season and brought her wares to Sta. Lucia in the Philippine Super Liga.
She decided to forgo her fifth and final year but had a change of heart, opting to return and help the Katipunan-based spikers in their bid to bag a second straight crown.
With the lingering health risks and uncertainties brought about by the coronavirus crisis, the UAAP is eyeing to launch its 83rd season early next year.
The league is also set to give medals to athletes who did not finish or even suit in the aborted 82nd season.