MANILA, Philippines -- A second comeback is a difficult proposition for Ateneo standout Jhoana Maraguinot, after what should have been her final season of eligibility was snuffed out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maraguinot decided to play again for the Lady Eagles in Season 82, after skipping Season 81 which saw Ateneo regain the UAAP women's volleyball crown. Her comeback lasted just two games, however, before the tournament was suspended and eventually cancelled completely.
"Noong una in denial ako, noong first time na nag-suspend ng games, sobrang in denial ako," Maraguinot said in a discussion with other "super seniors" on "The Prospects" podcast, presented by SMART.
"Noong sinuspend na talaga, noong kinansel na 'yung season, sobrang parang, na-disappoint ako, although alam ko rin na parang doon ko nasabi na, 'Totoo pala 'yung corona.' Ang daming apektado," she added.
Maraguinot had been looking forward to helping the Lady Eagles retain their crown, and her presence was welcome especially after the graduation of three veterans from their championship team -- Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kim Gequillana.
More than anything, however, Maraguinot was excited to finally play with her younger sister, Jaja, who took over as the team's starting setter.
"Everyone in the family, sobrang excited na maglalaro kami together, and parang alam namin din na sa pinagdaanan namin sa training, magiging maganda 'yung season," she said.
Ateneo played just two games in the tournament, sweeping University of the Philippines in their first game before bowing to archrival De La Salle University in four sets in their second game.
Maraguinot had just four points against UP, before putting up nine points in their loss to La Salle. She was non-committal when asked if she had played her last UAAP game, but admitted that it was a tough decision to make.
"For me, mahirap na decision siya, kasi personally, ako matanda na ako," said Maraguinot, who was a part of the Ateneo team that had a perfect campaign in Season 77.
"I mean, pumasok ako ng Ateneo, I was 16, 15. Tapos aalis ako, kung maglaro man ako next year, aalis ako 25 (years old)," she pointed out. "So parang, it's too long na for me."
"Sana nag-double major na lang pala ako from the very start," she joked.
While the possibility of playing with her younger sister for one more year is tempting, Maraguinot says the decision to return is a difficult one to make.
"Sinabi ko sa kanya (Jaja), matanda na ako, ha," said Maraguinot, when asked if her younger sister was trying to convince her.
"'Yung mga rookies ko noong senior ako, graduate na rin. So ako, gusto mo pa ba ako mag-stay? Sinabihan din naman niya ako before, pero pinangunahan ko pa rin siya," she added.
It remains to be seen if Maraguinot -- or other "super seniors" -- will be given another chance to play as the UAAP has yet to make a final decision on the eligibility of players whose tournaments were cut off by the pandemic.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.