Jhoana Maraguinot has had some ups and down in her collegiate volleyball career. She was part of Ateneo’s team, alongside Michelle Morente, in the last UAAP beach volleyball tournament, and while the pair were entertaining to watch, they were unable to record a win for the whole tournament. More recently, in the AVC Under-23 tournament, her inclusion to the team was criticized due to her lack of experience and youth.
Aside from those two, there have been many bright spots for Jhoanna just this past year. She was pivotal in Ateneo’s sweep of the elimination rounds, punching in the last two points in Ateneo’s final match of the elimination round against rivals La Salle, ensuring her team a thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals.
In Ateneo’s first match in the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference, Jhoana’s performance once again turned some heads, as she led an undermanned Ateneo to a four-set victory over a determined UST squad. She was brilliant in the win, scoring 23 huge points, many of them coming from the back row, drawing plenty of praise from team captain, Alyssa Valdez.
Jhoana deflected the praise hurled her way, pointing out that she was only able to accomplish her feat due to the teamwork displayed by her teammates.
“Masaya ako na nakalaro ako ng maayos. Nakuha naman siya sa teamwork, nag-enjoy kami kanina kahit nag struggle kami sa third set. Enjoy lang,” said Jhoana in an interview with Tiebreaker Times.
UST seemed to find no clue on how to stop Jhoana’s devastating attacks from the back row. When asked about it, she joked that she just got lucky as many of her attacks hit the net.
“Chamba lang kasi madalas sumasabit sa net yung bola,” joked Jhoana. But she shared that she has been training her back row attacks for some time now, as coach Tai wants her to be a threat no matter where she is in the court. “Yan yung tina-train namin ngayon kasi kailangan sa bawa’t pwesto kaya mong umatake, hindi pwede na front row ka lang makaka-atake.”
Jhoana’s breakout performance could not have come at a better time, and with Alyssa possibly sitting out more games in the future, it looks like the team will be looking to Jhoana for that much needed offense.
Near the end of the interview, Alyssa passed through the dugout, stopped long enough to plant a kiss on Jhoana’s cheek and said, “Ganda ganda ng game!”
Jhoana simply replied, “Nag-mana lang ako sa’yo!”