UAAP Season 82 marks a new beginning for most, if not all.
This is especially true for Jhoana Maraguinot, who is looking to start afresh in her final flight as an Ateneo Lady Eagle.
“For me, fresh start ‘to eh.”
Maraguinot is now putting her recent collegiate “heartbreaks” behind her, heading into Ateneo’s title-retention bid. After all, she has suffered plenty over the past few years.
Under her watch, the Lady Eagles succumbed to arch-rivals De La Salle Lady Spikers in Seasons 78 and 79. A year after, Ateneo failed to make the Finals for the first time in seven years, which came on the heels of Maraguinot’s decision to “forego” her final playing year.
Now, though, the 5-foot-8 opposite hitter asserted that losing emotional baggage would do wonders for her.
“Ayoko nang dalhin ‘yung heartbreaks, pero dala ko ‘yung lessons na nakuha ko from it,” she confessed in an interview moments after a grueling training session inside the Blue Eagle Gym, Tuesday.
“Kasi parang if dalhin ko ‘yun… ‘Di ba sinasabi nila na kapag may galit ka, hindi mo magagawa ng maayos ‘yung kailangan mong gawin. So for me, kinailangan ko talagang mag-move on from it kahit ayaw ko. Kahit masakit siya sa akin, marami naman akong natutunan from it. So, gagamitin ko ‘yung mga natutunan ko for this season.”
Besides leaving behind the pain brought about by her flameouts with Ateneo, Maraguinot is taking this season as a window of opportunity to start anew after spending some time on the sidelines, no thanks to a string of injuries.
“After ko noong Season 80, may injury din talaga ako noon sa knee ko. Hindi ko siya naipahinga, so parang hindi rin talaga siya maka-recover so pabalik-balik lang,” confided Maraguinot, who had an injury-riddled stint with the Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors in the PSL. “So ‘yun nga, tinigil ko. Doon ko talaga siya [inayos]. Sabi ko, ‘Okay, isa-sacrifice ko kasi feeling ko kapag hindi ko siya sinacrifice ngayon, wala na akong time na makapaglaro ulit.’
“‘Yun rin ‘yung inayos ko rin bago ako bumalik talaga. Minake sure ko na wala akong injury, ‘yun talaga ‘yung inayos ko ‘yung katawan ko. Literal katawan ko lang,” she then continued.
“I guess, worth it naman ‘yung sinacrifice ko na time.”
True enough, Maraguinot is looking like the “Eagle Claw” that caused problems for opposing teams several years ago. She showcased her vaunted arsenal in one of Ateneo’s morning scrimmages, delivering a plethora of attacks from all over the court and looking as potent as ever.
There’s no question that her impact on the offensive end will also be a huge help to Ateneo in the upcoming campaign.
Still, head coach Oliver Almadro is challenging Maraguinot to leave an imprint on the court, not just through her scoring, but through her leadership — a challenge she has embraced wholeheartedly.
“Well, laging sinasabi sa akin ni Coach O na hindi niya kailangan na kami lang ang pupuntos eh. Ang kailangan niya ‘yung guidance para sa mga bata… Guidance na ‘pagdating ng game, kasi iba naman talaga ‘yung feel ‘pag game time ng UAAP,” the elder sister of second-year playmaker Jaja Maraguinot disclosed.
“Kaya ‘yun lang lagi niyang sinasabi sa amin na gabayan namin ‘yung mga bata na ‘wag ma-pressure sa mga dapat nilang gawin.”
Down to her final year in the collegiate scene, a new beginning awaits Maraguinot. And she’s definitely going to make the most out of it.
“Siguro all out this season talaga. Ever since I started training, I told myself na it’s now or never. Para wala akong i-regret, all-out na. Hangga’t kaya ko, ibibigay ko.”