ABY Marano simply can't afford to be chummy and sweet inside the playing court - not with De La Salle’s three-year reign as UAAP women’s volleyball champion under threat from no less than old rival Ateneo.
Marano and the Lady Spikers have been taken to the limit by an equally determined Lady Eagles side, which pulled off a classic 25-21, 25-23, 18-25, 16-25, 17-15 win in Wednesday’s Game Three to forge the do-or-die match on Saturday against the thrice-to-beat top seeds.
With her school’s supremacy in the league on the line, the 21-year-old La Salle team captain vowed to wear her game face right from the get-go all the way till the end.
“Iba na 'yung personality ko pag nasa loob na ng court,” said Marano, one of the most emotional players among the Lady Spikers. “Sa personal, I'm sweet and girly pero iba talaga (inside the court). Kasi ganoon talaga 'yung focus ko, 'yung mindset ko pag nakatapak ako sa loob ng court, lalake po ako.”
Acknowledged as the heart and soul of the Lady Spikers, Marano has come under fire from some fans who find her "too cocky" and "arrogant" on the court judging from her actions and antics.
Marano, though, said she is merely being a leader for her team.
“Syempre pinapanindigan ko lang ang pagiging atleta ko. Eh hindi naman ako nagpapaganda sa loob ng court. Hindi mo kailangan magpa-charm or whatsoever na maging maganda ka sa mata ng mga tao," said the La Salle star.
"Kailangan maging maganda ako sa paglalaro para sa team ko, maging maganda ang resulta ng game."
The 4 p.m. match at the Mall of Asia Arena also serves as the farewell game of the five-year veteran, who has vowed to move heaven and earth as she bids to leave the school on a winning note.
“Mas gusto ko (manalo). Hindi ako magte-training ng para sa wala lang, hindi ako magte-training ng hindi ako mananalo,” she said confidently.
“Sa huli masasabi ko na naghirap ako mag-handle ng team mag-isa lang as a senior. Hindi ako papayag na ga-graduate ako na walang mararating. Hindi ako papayag na sa five years ko, matatapos lang sa wala.”