Arriving at the inevitable end of a wonderful journey, Far Eastern University’s veteran hitter Jerrili Malabanan wrote a farewell message as she maxed out her playing years in the UAAP.
In a Twitter post, Malabanan expressed her joy for what she and the Lady Tamaraws have achieved this UAAP Season 81 amid all the doubts for the team.
Though saddened by the fact that she will be leaving Morayta, the FEU skipper said she’ll leave with pride as the squad was able prove their doubters wrong.
“It truly saddens me that I won’t be donning the green and gold for FEU anymore, but wow what an amazing season to end with. So many people doubted us this year, and we proved them wrong. We showed everyone what a Pusong Tamaraw is, and I couldn’t be any prouder with what we’ve accomplished,” she wrote.
True enough, their campaign this season was nothing short of a roller coaster ride both for the team and the volleyball pundits.
In fact, all throughout the season, the ladies in green-and-gold went through eight five-set matches.
But with Malabanan establishing her leadership, they managed to win all but one of these important matches, enough to earn another Final Four appearance.
In the semifinals, FEU didn’t go down without a fight as it pushed Ateneo to a decider before finally bowing out of contention.
Usually someone who let her game does the talking, Malabanan has to break out of her shell and take a bigger role as the leader of the Lady Tamaraws with the departure of Bernadeth Pons last year.
And for this, Malabanan couldn’t help but be proud.
Further, she also expressed her gratitude to FEU, saying she will always keep all the memories and lessons she had gained during her five-year stay.
“FEU, thank you for 5 incredible years! I will never forget my journey here, and will forever treasure it in my heart. I couldn’t have picked a better school to help me grow as a person. From learning tagalog to experiencing a new culture; the memories I’ve made with everyone at FEU will last a lifetime,” she wrote.
Malabanan was also grateful to batchmates Heather Guino-o and Kyle Negrito for their support all from the start of their UAAP careers until the end.
“To my fellow seniors, I love you so much and I’m so grateful for this last ride with you guys. Heather, thank you for inspiring me on the court, and being my motivation to always work hard. Kyle, thank you for always having my back, and guiding me if ever I needed help with anything,” she penned.
She also thanked her family, who was always present during her games, and the fans for their unwavering faith and trust to her and to the team.
Malabanan first played for FEU in Season 77. Often described as someone with raw potential waiting to be unfurled, she then became the Lady Tamaraws’ silent operator.
Under the tutelage of coach Shaq delos Santos (77-79) and coach George Pascua (80-81), Malabanan blossomed into one of the squad’s go-to player next to Pons and Toni Rose Basas.
On her final year, she steered FEU to its fifth straight semifinals stint. This aside from being included in the training pool of the Philippine national women’s volleyball team.