UAAP: Almadro hopes Ateneo players will step up after Maraguinot unexpectedly signs off

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2022 01:31 PM

Ateneo setter Jaja Maraguinot. UAAP Media.
Ateneo setter Jaja Maraguinot. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- Ateneo de Manila University coach Oliver Almadro is banking on his up-and-coming players to step up in UAAP Season 85 after the unexpected departure of starting setter Jaja Maraguinot.

Maraguinot played just two full seasons with the Blue Eagles, starting every game for them in Season 84 where they finished in third place. She announced during their fans' day last week that she is "signing off" from the team and foregoing her remaining years of eligibility in the UAAP.

Almadro had tipped Maraguinot to be among the leaders of their team in Season 85, and was admittedly surprised at his player's decision.

"Yeah, I'm not expecting it," the coach said in a recent interview. "But you know naman, we can only understand what are their needs."

Maraguinot, who ranked fourth in the UAAP with 4.49 excellent sets per set in Season 84, has since tried out for the Akari Power Chargers, a new team in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).


As for the Blue Eagles, Almadro said they will "make way with what we have."

"Ever since, ganoon naman ang Ateneo," he said. "We only have a few players in the pool, we can only get what we need. So now, we need a setter."

"Hopefully, other players na andiyan, mag-step up, and soon, makakuha kami ng talented setter for the Ateneo," he added.

In Season 84, Takako Fujimoto served as Maraguinot's back-up. 

Almadro said he has high hopes for Maraguinot's future, even as he acknowledged that the current landscape of volleyball has changed when the PVL turned professional. Previously, Ateneo players like Bea de Leon and Katrina Tolentino played in the club league but could still return to the Blue Eagles for their final seasons of eligibility.

"Now, if she [Maraguinot] plans to go pro, 'pag nag-sign up na siya, wala na, no turning back," said Almadro. 

"If she decided to go to pro, we will be supporting her, we will be praying for her," the coach assured. "But if otherwise, if she opted or thought na, naisip niya na I'll be staying for one more year, she will always be welcome to Ateneo for our campaign next year."

Aside from Maraguinot, Ateneo also lost team captain Dani Ravena to graduation at the end of Season 84.

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