IT didn't come as a surprise that Ina Araneta is now one of the rising stars of the Beautiful Game.
Football after all runs in the blood of the rookie of Far Eastern University's women's team, being the youngest sister of Ian Araneta, skipper of the Air Force team in the United Football League (UFL) Division Two and a longtime member of the Philippine Azkals.
Aside from her popular brother, Ina's father was also a former member of the national team during his heyday, so the jump to football came naturally for the 17-year-old.
“’Yung family ko po, talagang football po ang sport. Mana-mana lang,” said the soft-spoken Lady Tamaraw, the youngest of four siblings.
Born and raised in the football hotbed of Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo, Ina said she learned to play the sport when she was six years old playing against her neighbors, some of them boys, and by tagging along his brother Ian during his football practice.
“Dalawa po sila ng tatay ko ang tumulong sa akin," said Ina. "Tuwing nagpa-practice si kuya, dinadala niya ako.”
But it's one thing to take up the sport, and another thing to shine.
So far, Araneta has wasted no time proving her worth. Right in her rookie year, Ina has become one of the stalwarts of the FEU team that recently won the UAAP women’s football crown for the second straight time with a two-game sweep of University of Santo Tomas in the finals.
Araneta, in fact, scored the lone goal for the Lady Tamaraws in the opener of the UST series. She actually had a shot at winning the Rookie of the Year award if not for a suspension she incurred during the course of the season.
Now, she's looking forward to bigger things in her career, beginning with a hat-trick of titles for FEU next season, when she will be counted upon to play an even bigger role for the team.
“Siguro po malakas pa rin kami dahil marami pa ring reserve player na hinahasa pa,” she said.