Choosing a team captain could be one of the most challenging tasks in volleyball. The coaching staff has had to select who among the players can steer the team to greater heights. It has to be done very thoroughly, for there were cases when lack of leadership is the cause of a team’s fallout.
Leaders come in various shapes, sizes, and colors in volleyball. There are leaders who are shy and silent and make up for it by leading through example, especially in scoring.
There are also those who do not punch big numbers for the squad and motivate her teammates to do better instead. There are team captains who are very vocal both in motivating her teammates and chipping in points.
Then, there’s Aby Maraño.
Maraño scored another slot in the newly formed women’s national volleyball team billed to compete in the Asian Games in August and AVC Asian Cup in September.
The squad, who will be under the tutelage of Petron head coach Shaq delos Santos, is composed of former national team members, returnees, and newcomers. Though the lineup looks lethal already, they still need someone who can lead them on and off the taraflex floor.
Maraño is the girl for the job.
Last Sunday, Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) revealed that the multi-awarded middle blocker will serve as the skipper of the newly minted squad.
Maraño as team captain is long overdue.
Ever since her sophomore year donning the La Salle jersey in the UAAP, Maraño has already shown flashes of impeccable leadership, even among the presence of her former seniors Steph Mercado and Jacq Alarca. She was just so feisty.
Two years later, after Cha Cruz exhausted her playing year, the 25-year-old middle blocker inherited the team captain role.
Leading a mighty squad like the Lady Spikers is a daunting task. Leading a squad going for a three-peat is even scarier, but Maraño has always been brave.
Together with Michele Gumabao, she led the Ramil de Jesus-mentored squad to its second three-peat. To top it off, she was awarded co-MVP of the season with fellow Lady Spiker and a sophomore back then, Ara Galang. Season 76 was an even bigger mission.
With Gumabao foregoing her final playing year, leaving her alone to lead a much younger squad, Maraño had to raise her level of leadership even more. More vocal. More passionate. More motivated.
The Taft-based squad breezed through the eliminations, only dropping two sets in the process. All throughout the preliminary, Maraño was seen with a much feistier attitude on court.
When the Finals rolled out between La Salle and Ateneo Lady Eagles, the animated captain was expected to go all out on her last UAAP games. All out she was, and more. In fact, the ‘Beast Mode Don’t Care’ attitude was born that year.
Four years later, Maraño still encapsulates the same fierceness and sense of leadership. She was still the same girl who strutted and roared during the UAAP 76 Finals series against Ateneo.
She was still the same girl who scored 20 markers on top of a BMDC attitude during the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Reinforced Conference bronze medal match. She was still the same girl who threw stare downs in the championship game between F2 Logistics and Foton Tornadoes in the Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference in 2016.
Maraño puts premium care on her teammates. It doesn’t matter if she gets hateful comments when she show some BMDC attitude. Doesn’t matter if her arms get sore for lifting her teammates every time they scored a point. Doesn’t matter if her voice gets hoarse for yelling motivations to her squad.
She is a natural born leader, and a good one at that.She hasn’t changed. Not a bit. She was still a fighter—and that’s what the national team needs.
Is choosing Maraño as the team captain the best decision the national team has made so far?
Yes. Of course. Definitely. No doubt.