ABY Marano, the charming team captain of La Salle, stressed the Lady Spikers’ outright march to the 76th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Finals is not the handiwork of just one or two players.
Marano said collective effort of the entire team was the reason for its 14-game sweep of the eliminations, which gave La Salle thrice-to-beat advantage in its fourth straight trip to the championship series.
Marano, the team's acknowledged leader, spoke just moments after the Lady Spikers turned a highly anticipated match against second-running National University into a 14-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20 romp.
The Lady Spikers dropped a set for only the second time this season in the game against NU - largely seen as the biggest threat to La Salle's title bid last season.
Still, Marano said the first-set loss was a timely wake-up call for the team.
“First set (sa NU) reminder yun para magising kami, ano ba yung laro ng La Salle? Ano ba yung tono? It took one set na magising at maka-compose ng bago,” she said after the game.
“Remind ourselves sino tayo? Ano ba kaya natin gawin? Nire-remind ko sila ano ba yung kaya nating gawin, yung puso na meron tayo. Hindi tayo pwede magsalita ng magsalita ng wala namang gawa.”
Even before the game, La Salle’s unity as a team had been tested as players were forced to walk from Stop and Shop in Sta. Mesa to V. Mapa from where they rode the LRT on the way to the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
But the team was able to get its act together in time under the leadership of Marano, who nonetheless couldn't emphasize enough that the Lady Spikers are far from being a one-woman team.
“Ako naniniwala ako na ang isang team na lumalaban bilang isa ay mananalo,” said Marano, recognized as Ms. Volleyball by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) during its Annual Awards Night together with Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez.
"Hindi tayo pwedeng sumandal lang sa isa o sa isang tao lang tayo kumukuha ng lakas. Kailangan ikaw mismo na nasa loob para makatulong sa team para lahat walang butas kasi kung isa laban sa lahat wala tayong mararating nun.
“Ako masasabi ko lahat ng nasa loob tulung-tulong lahat.”