After weeks of speculation, Akari announced on Thursday that it has signed Justine Jazareno for the upcoming PVL Third Conference.
The 23-year-old libero will be forgoing her final three years at De La Salle University, opting to turn professional instead.
For Jazareno, the decision to turn professional was not solely hers; it was her family’s.
“Of course, it was really hard for me to decide, knowing that the Lasallian community has been my family since I was a child, from La Salle all the way through college. Actually, it took me months to figure out what I needed for myself and to support my family,” she said in a statement released by her agency Virtual Playground.
“Plus, this has been an eye-opener that this might be the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. I can say that I really took time to think about it and weighed my priorities to help me come to this decision.”
As the Lady Spikers’ ace libero, she helped guide La Salle to a finals appearance in UAAP Season 84 before helping them reach the pinnacle a season later.
Jazareno was the best digger of Season 85 with an average of 3.85 digs per set.
Jazareno expressed her gratitude for the time she spent at Taft, saying, “This is something that will never leave me, which includes discipline, respect, perseverance, and a champion’s heart.”
In Akari, she joins good friends Fifi Sharma and Faith Nisperos.
And she is excited for what lies ahead.
“I am super excited to be a part of the Akari Chargers, and I am looking forward to more bonding and learning from the team. During my first training with them, I felt a bit nervous because it’s a new team, but at the same time, I’m excited because the environment is new,” she said.
“However, I have adjusted well with the team because they welcomed me warmly.”