INSTEAD of criticisms, all-out support is what the Philippine women’s volleyball team needs at the moment as it vies in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Aby Marano made the appeal in the light of varying remarks made when the final composition of the squad was announced Friday.
“Ito ay para sa bansa, mag tulung-tulong na lang.Tanggalin natin ang mga negative vibes sa mga players kasi naglalaro kami for the Philippines hindi for the team na favorite nila,” said the former De La Salle skipper, who was initially reported among those likely not to make it to the final roster out of the original pool of players selected by coach Roger Gorayeb.
But Marano kept her hopes and was rewarded over the weekend when Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. president Joey Romasanta announced her name among those who made the team along with Alyssa Valdez, Rachel Anne Daquis, Jaja Santiago, Bea De Leon, Rhea Dimaculangan, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Maraño, Jia Morado, Maika Ortiz, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Gretcel Soltones, and Denden Lazaro.
All 12 players were in attendance during Friday evening’s practice, just hours shortly after the final 12 was announced.
Marano admitted playing for the national team has long been a dream of hers.
“Hindi ako hihindi sa national call of duty,” Maraño later told a handful of sportswriters following the team’s grueling three-hour training.
Amid disagreements by several fans on the final composition of the team, the outspoken middle blocker instead called out for unity and respect.
“Sa tingin ko nakakasad sa point na ‘yun, may mga taong kapwa Pilipino pupuna sa ‘yo, imbes na suportahan ka nila,” she added.
In a separate interview, coach Gorayeb pleaded for volleyball fans to respect the composition of the first women’s national team competing in the SEA Games in a decade.
“Kung sa akin ok lang eh, tinatawag nila akong bobo, ako daw ang pinakawalang kwentang coach. Sige lang, basta ‘wag nilang babastusin ang mga players,” said the veteran mentor.
Maraño however, just shrugs off the criticisms.
“Kahit di sila maniwala sa akin, tuloy lang ako,” she said. “I won’t let anybody take way my dream from me.”
The team will fly to Singapore on June 4.