There are fans. There are fanatics. There are devotees.
Then, there’s Aby Maraño.
Known for her “Beast Mode, Don’t Care” exploits on the volleyball court, Maraño also does not hold back when supporting her alma mater, the De La Salle University. She also has a different level of BMDC when supporting her beau, Robert Bolick.
A fixture in the sea of red during San Beda games, the former Lady Spiker stands out, yelping and screaming her heart out for Babes, the nickname she has affectionately given and made famous for Bolick.
There was some understandable stress with Maraño when she couldn’t watch Game Two of the NCAA Season 93 Finals, which turned out to be the title-clincher for the Red Lions. Maraño had a match in the 2017 Chooks-to-Go Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, as her F2 Logistics Cargo Movers went up against the Generika-Ayala Lifesavers.
The PSL ambassador recalled being relieved when she found out that her boyfriend had clinched his second straight NCAA title.
“Kinakabahan nga ako kanina kasi gusto ko talaga panoorin [‘yung Game Two]. Nagtatanong-tanong ako kanina tapos may random guy na lumipat sa akin tas binalita na champion na nga daw. Parang nawala ‘yung kaba ko, naging mas light ‘yung feeling ko noong game,” she told Tiebreaker Times after the Cargo Movers walloped the Lifesavers. “Pero naco-compose ko pa rin naman ‘yung sarili kasi, last year, ganoon din ‘yung nangyare sa amin – may game din ako tapos di ko napanood ‘yung Finals niya. Naging positive lang kami.
“Whether I’m there or not, tiwala na lang na maglalaro siya nang mabuti.”
When Bolick and Maraño first got together, it was clear which of them was more famous and successful. Bolick, during his days as a Green Archer, had gathered more renown as Maraño’s boyfriend than from his on-court performance.
Fast forward to today, and Bolick has arguably reached Maraño’s lofty acheivements. Bolick, with his two NCAA championships, one PBA D-League title, and D-League MVP plum, now has a reputable collection of accolades to put next to Maraño’s UAAP MVP trophy, three UAAP championships, two PSL titles, and numerous Best Blocker awards, to name a few.
Taking no credit away from Bolick’s inherent determination, Maraño admits that her blossoming volleyball career has always been a motivation for Bolick to revive his basketball career.
“Hindi naman sa nai-insecure [siya sa akin]. More of nacha-challenge siya to prove himself. Siyempre, lalake, may ego siya,” said the National Team stalwart. “There was a time na sinabi niya sa akin na kailangan niya magtrabaho at mag-step up talaga kasi nga marami na nga daw akong napatunayan, MVP, champion, National Team.
“Gusto niya ring maabot ‘yun.”
Maraño also recalls a time when she had forgotten to consider Bolick’s commitments and dearly missed his company. For now, she asserts that both are considerate of their goals and the process they undergo to achieve them.
“Kaya humingi talaga siya ng support sa akin and understanding sa time. Pinaalala niya sa akin na pareho lang kami ng sitwasyon noong collegiate player pa ako,” Maraño reminisced. “There was a time din kasi na nalimutan ko na collegiate player pa lang siya. Ino-obliga ko siya na samahan ako sa mga ganito, ganiyan. ‘Yun lang.
“Doon nag-start ‘yung discussion namin na kailngan ko siya suportahan sa goals niya. Kaya ngayon isa-isa, tiis-tiis na ‘yung companionship sa boyfriend ‘di ko din makukuha ngayon kasi pareho kami tight ang schedule with our season.”
Maraño, one of the top players in the Philippines, is ecstatic about the possibilities for Bolick, now a shoo-in for the PBA and a definite candidate for Gilas Pilipinas consideration.
She laughs off any talks of their future, joking about Bolick’s wanting kids in the next two years.
“Nagpaparinig siya na mag-ready na daw ako kasi gusto niya na magka-baby. Siyempre ayaw ko pa kasi nga gusto ko tuloy-tuloy pa ako sa paglalaro. Pero gusto niya din kasi na makakasabay niya pa sa basketball ‘yung anak niya. Ngayon, hindi ko pa iniisip kasi 24 pa lang ako and gusto ko pa humaba ‘yung volleyball career ko,” she said.
For now, Maraño wants Bolick to focus on NCAA Season 94. She’s sure that Bolick will return to play out his final year of eligibility.
Most importantly, Maraño wants Bolick to achieve something she’ll never get a chance to achieve — to graduate a champion.
“Sabi ko nga, naturingan kang King Lion tapos aalisin mo sila? Di pwede ‘yun. Bigyan mo sila ng karangalan,” Maraño said.
“Sana gumraduate siya ng maganda, ng champion. Sana maramdaman niya ‘yung feeling to graduate as a champion. Kahit hindi ko naramdaman ‘yun, ‘yun ang pangarap ko sa kanya.”
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