NATIONAL team skipper Aby Maraño admitted that the team is heart broken as Kalei Mau was ruled ineligible for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Less than a month before the biennial meet from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. president Joey Romasanta confirmed on Friday that the Fil-American outside fell just short of the minimum two-year residency.
Mau, a University of Arizona standout in NCAA Division 1, is one of the top offensive options of the team.
“Broken hearted talaga ang feeling na wala si Kalei,” said Maraño.
The 6-foot-2 outside hitter, who plays for F2 Logistics in the Philippine Super Liga, had a vital role in the nationals’ campaign in the Asean Grand Prix first leg in Thailand where the Pinay spikers finished third.
Marano says Mau, whose dedication and contribution to the team is unparalleled, will be sorely missed but she believes the Philippine team still has what it takes to end its medal drought in the SEA Games.
“Nakasama namin siya ng matagal, ilang buwan kaming magkakasama, sa hirap at ginhawa ng national team kasama namin siya,” said Maraño. “Maalala ko lang ‘yung training camp namin sa Thailand, grabe ang paghihirap ni Kalei doon. Kung sa 100 percent, 200 percent ang binibigay niya sa training.”
“She’s always optimistic, everyday na makikita ko siya, lagi niyang sasabihin na, ‘Hi, sissy, let’s get better!’ and she will always ask us, ‘How was your sleep last night? Are you feeling well?’ Parang iha-hype niya kami. Mga simpleng bagay na ganoon malaking bagay [para] sa team,” she added.
Maraño now urges the other members of the squad step up.
“Malungkot kami pero, alam mo ‘yung, kailangan kung may mawawala may pupunan noong nawala, laban pa rin,” she said.
“Hindi pwedeng wala na si Kalei, wala na. Hindi pwedeng ganoon. Masama ang loob namin na hindi siya makakalaro pero nandoon ang feeling na kailangan may mag-step up kami para sa kanya,” she added.