TO this day, Ateneo's sophomore sensation Jhoana Maraguinot remains overwhelmed by her journey from the humble town of Alitagtag, Batangas to the biggest stage in women's volleyball in the country.
The 20-year old outside hitter, known for her powerful spikes much like her Batanguena star teammate Alyssa Valdez, has emerged as a fan favorite but admits to being uncomfortable with the attention given her simple roots.
In her second season with the Lady Eagles, Maraguinot, who was recruited by former Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb, still cannot believe that she's now playing in big arenas in Metro Manila after starting out playing the sport in their backyard under the watchful eye of her mom Lovelia Agno, a former Adamson Lady Falcon.
“Sa totoo lang, wala akong ginagawa sa buhay ko dati. So noong nagka-volleyball ako, ‘Ay wow, may ginagawa ako.' Yun na lang ang talent ko, wala kasi akong talent,” shared Maraguinot in a chat with SPIN.ph.
“Hindi (ko na-imagine ‘to) kasi noong una, laru-laro lang ako, kung ano lang ‘yung magawa ko. Tapos ngayon sobrang iba na than before,” she added. “Overwhelming din kasi hindi ko naman in-expect ‘yung ganito. At saka parang fulfilling kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan ko nakikita ko naman na nagpe-pay off.”
Her disbelief becomes even more understandable as Maraguinot recalled how her mother, who was also her very first trainer, was also resistant to the possibility of her playing varsity volleyball for La Salle Lipa.
“Sa La Salle Lipa (ako nag elementary and high school) pero sa Alitagtag (kami nakatira), so in-encourage ako ng mga matatandang teachers sa school ko (La Salle Lipa) dati na kakilala ni mama na maglaro din for the school,” she said.
“Pero parang kasi sa una ayaw ni mama na ma-involve ako sa sports kasi nga alam niya ‘yung buhay (atleta). Naging buhay na niya ‘yun so parang sabi niya ayaw niya akong mahirapan. Pero ngayon nae-enjoy ko na rin siya ng very light,” added Maraguinot, whose younger sister Janel was the setter for Calabarzon in the recently concluded 2016 Palarong Pambansa.