Maraguinot first to take blame for crumbling under pressure as Ateneo falters in UAAP finals
Jho Maraguinot admitted pressure got the best of her down the stretch in Ateneo's loss to La Salle. Jaime Campos

JHO Maraguinot was first to take the blame after top-seed Ateneo fell short in its bid to regain the throne in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament against bitter rival La Salle.

Looking to force a decider after losing Game 1, Maraguinot spearheaded Ateneo's uprising in Game 2, giving the Lady Eagles a 2-1 set lead and rallied her team back from a huge deficit in the deciding set to get within three, 10-13. 

But newly-minted MVP Majoy Baron then scored to put the Lady Spikers at championship point, sending fans in green inside the 20,860-strong crowd in Araneta Coliseum into a frenzy.

Maraguinot admitted the pressure of the moment got the best of her as her last shot went long, an error that gave La Salle its sixth title in 10 years. 

"Well yes (may halong gigil yung last shot) kasi gusto ko pa ring lumaban e," said Maraguinot shortly after Ateneo absorbed a 19-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18, 15-10 defeat in Game Two on Saturday.

"Kinakabahan a rin. Andun pressure na lumaban," she added. "Kailangan mo pa ring mag-stay calm e kasi kung kakabahan ka lalong di mo magagawa yung kailangan mo gawin."

[See Sweet repeat for La Salle]

Maraguinot also rued the team's horrible reception, but was quick to admit it was her who mostly failed to deliver when it mattered most for the Lady Eagles. 

"In terms of laro, obviously its reception," said Maraguinot. "Ako personally masyado ako nataranta, masyado na-pressure na pag lumalamang kalaban nanggigil ako e. Ako yun. Nanggigil ako na makabawi, and it's a bad thing." 

"Kailangan talaga kalmado ka lalo pag ganitong klaseng laro."

But she was happy nonetheless with what the Lady Eagles achieved this season and for fighting back in their final game for Season 79.

"Lumaban pa rin naman kami. Na-push namin sya sa five sets kahit naging masama first few sets. Nakabawi pa rin kahit papano, kinulang lang kami," she said. 

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