Maraño hangs national team jersey

Aby Maraño will no longer be part of the national squad that will compete in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May. Photo courtesy of PVL

It was not an easy decision to make but Aby Maraño made a leap of faith and formally decided to quit playing for the national women’s volleyball team.

In a social media post late Sunday, the 30-year-old former national team skipper expressed her intention to hang her jersey, formally marking the end of a seven-year international career.

“Nagwakas na ang serbisyo sa bayan, dito naman, dito na lang, dito na palagi,” Maraño penned as caption to her Instagram post with a photo of her wearing the F2 Logistics uniform.

Known for her intense passion, dedication, leadership and unquestionable love for the sport, Maraño said she had decided to walk away from the international arena that saw her compete at various levels, including the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.

She kicked off her international career in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore in 2015 in which the Filipinas made a return to the biennial meet for the first time since 2005.

Then, she was part of the squad that held a 17-day training camp in Japan before seeing action in the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 and the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.

The following year, she competed in front of the local fans in the 30th SEA Games in Pasig City and skippered the Nationals in the 31st edition of the meet in Hanoi last year.

In between, she competed in various International Volleyball Federation tournaments, including the Asian Women’s Club Championships and Asian Women’s Senior Championships.

She also made herself available and played for the national team despite the transition of federation leadership from the Philippine Volleyball Federation to Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. to the Philippine National Volleyball Federation.

Unfortunately for her, she failed to lead the Filipinas to a medal in the SEA Games.

Maraño, a two-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player, said she wants to focus on other endeavors and leave the task of playing for the country to rising stars.

Among those seen to serve as her successors in manning the middle are 23-year-old Ivy Lacsina, 21-year-old Thea Gagate and 23-year-old Ced Domingo while Mika Reyes and Dell Palomata are still expected to be available for national duty.

Mylene Paat, meanwhile, is now emerging as the new leader of the national squad after showing a lot of promises in pushing young players in the international arena.

“Retirement means time and space for my other passion,” she said.

“I think it is time for the new blood to take over.”

Maraño was not included in the national pool released by the Philippine National Volleyball Federation last January.

“In the national team or not, Tyang is Tyang. No one else can take that away from me. I worked so hard to be the Tyang Aby of Philippine Volleyball,” the Cargo Movers captain said.

“(I) dedicated myself to the sport and my heart for the nation in all seven years that I committed myself to the national team.”

Maraño also expressed gratitude to her national team mentors Roger Gorayeb, Francis Vicente, Shaq delos Santos, Odjie Mamon and Brazilian coach Jorge Souza de Brito as well as Philippine squad teammates.

“I’m very grateful to my teammates, coaches and National Sports Associations that I’ve been with within the years that I donned the national color,” she said.

“Especially to those who gave their trust and faith in me.”

Despite leaving the limelight of the celebrated women’s national team, Maraño vowed to give her all-out support to those who are next in line in carrying the country’s banner on the international stage.

“Of course, I’ll still be here to give my support. So, it’s time for new leadership,” Maraño said.

With her international career now a thing of the past, he strong-willed court leader will now focus her full attention on leading F2 Logistics in its campaign in the Premier Volleyball League.

Maraño and the Cargo Movers are currently waiting for their opponent in their breakthrough PVL All-Filipino Conference best-of-three semifinals stint.

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