Maru Banaticla’s graceful exit

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Right after UST failed to make it to the Final 4 of the UAAP women’s volleyball last season 75, I was already hell-bent on finding out whether or not Maruja Banaticla will use her fifth and final year as a Golden Tigress.

Unfortunately, just like the rest of y’all, I was unsuccessful in getting a solid decision from her for several months.

The responses I get from her would vary from “Di pa ako sure, Ma.” to “Pinag-iisipan ko pa po.”

There I was, clueless and impatiently waiting for an answer as if it’s an acceptance letter coming from a prestigious university I took an entrance exam in.

To my delight, last October 23, 2013, the day before my birthday, I got a tweet from her that says:

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There was no better birthday gift than this. A confirmation from Maru herself that she will be donning her black-gold-white jersey one last time.

After losing a lot of weight and gaining her old form back during the off-season, I was positive that she could lead UST back to the Final 4 where it truly belongs.

And then November 7, 2013 happened.

On my way to the Philippine Super Liga launch at URBN Bar and Kitchen, I received a couple of text messages asking why did Maru decide not to play for UST anymore.

Needless to say, I was shocked.

I didn’t want to believe it. I was in denial, I guess.

So, I came to the PSL launch as planned and thought to myself “I’ll just talk to her tomorrow.”

Surprise!

I didn’t have to.

She was there.

With the team (PLDT) she is supposedly playing for after deciding to “quit” her collegiate career.

There it was.

The final answer that broke thousands of hearts.

We hugged. A little hug that meant so many things.

And this is what she has to say:

“Ma, I promise maglalaro talaga ako.”

“Yung pagsali ko sa V-league/Smart, ipinagpaalam ko yun kay coach Odjie at kay Father, at pumayag sila.”

At this point, she was already in tears.

“Araw-araw, gumigising ako ng maaga para mag-jog kasi nagpapa-payat ako.”

“Nagpapa-kundisyon kasi pinaghahandaan ko din yung UAAP.”

So, okay. I don’t get it. She wants to play but she will not?

“Nagulat na lang po ako. Tinanong ako ni Kuya Kevin Ferrer (UST-MBT) ng ‘O? Bakit di ka naka-line-up?'”

“Clueless ako, Ma. Natuliro ako.”

Inconsolable, she continues and says:

“Pagbalik namin dito galing Bacolod after ng UniGames, kinabukasan I was there sa training.”

“Determined talaga ako na maglalaro ako. Kaya nung nalaman ko yun, nagpatulong ako kay Papa para malaman ano nangyari.”

Little by little, I was starting to connect the dots and understand her side of the story.

“Pumunta kami ng UST at may nagsabi nga sa amin na, oo. Hindi nga daw ako ila-line-up ni coach.”

“Ang sakit, Ma.”

She didn’t need to say it. The pain was written all over her face.

“Mahal na mahal ko kasi ang UST eh.”

“Gusto ko pa lumaro eh. Gustong gusto ko pa. Alam mo yan!”

Yes. I know for a fact that she badly wanted to make up for her measly output last season and help the team get back on its feet.

She seemed really heartbroken to the point that her PLDT teammate, Sher PeΓ±ano, handed her tissues to wipe away the tears that’s starting to ruin her “patented” blush-on and eyeliner.

“Kaso sabi ni Papa wag na. Hayaan na kung anong desisyon niya.”

“Tama na daw yung sakit. Ayaw niya ng makita na nagkaka-ganito ako.”

*insert more tears from both Maru and me here*

“Salamat kay Papa.”

“Sabay kaming pumasok sa UST nung bata pa ako at dinala niya ako dito.”

“Sabay din kaming lumabas at nakapag-paalam sa management ng maayos.”

Regardless of the heartbreak, she still has nothing but good words for her alma mater.

“My loyalty will forever be with UST.”

“Proud ako na Tomasino ako.”

Her voice cracked as pain evidently welled up again from within.

“Proud ako na pinili nila ako na maging part ng team at proud ako na sila din ang pinili ko nung pag graduate ko ng high school.”

The party was starting to wind down and her teammates were already telling her that they need to go elsewhere and eat.

To close it, I just asked for a message for all the people who supported her throughout her years as a student-athlete.

Weeping, she says:

“Ayoko ng goodbye-goodbye.”

“Makikita pa din nila ako. Maglalaro pa din ako.”

“Ahhm, eto na lang..”

“Go USTe!!!!!!!”

And that is how you make an exit.

Continue to be fierce, fun and fabulous, Maru! We will always be here to support you. Thank you for being classy. Thank you for playing for our beloved team, UST.

Maraming, maraming salamat sa pagpapasaya mo sa amin sa di mabilang na laro kung saan binigay mo ang buong puso mo.

Saludo! And this time, it is “One FROM UST!!!”

Photo courtesy of Sir Joey Villaluz

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27 responses to “Maru Banaticla’s graceful exit

  1. It pains a lot. <////3 We want to see her in the volleyball court for the last time this season. Please, please, please.

  2. I am a die-hard fan of Maru and I am a student from UST. Honestly, I enter this school because it is great. Pero isa sa gusto kong makita ay ang fierce na si Maru. Gusto kong lumapit sa kanya everytime na makikita ko sya, nahihiya ako. Sayang naman! πŸ™‚ pero Maru, mahal kita. Kaya mo yan. I’m always here to support you. Ust loves you! :)))

  3. This article left me speechless for a minute. Ewan. Di ko alam kung ano bang magiging reaction ko dito. I was looking forward to her redemption of herself. She was the next Queen Tiger. Nung una ko pa lang syang makitang maglaro alam ko nang sya ang susunod kela Pimintel, Bernal, Balse, Tabaquero and Maizo. Haaaay. Nakakaiyak. Pero tuloy pa rin. For the love of volleyball. Go Maru!

  4. God often uses small matches to light up great torches, and no matter how small you feel in this world, God has something big in store for you bunsoy maru

  5. This is a very sad story indeed, baks.

    My heart is crushed because Maru is the reason why I became a volleyball fanatic.
    The very first volleyball game I ever watched was the championship game between la salle and ust. I can’t remember what UAAP season it was, but it was Aiza Maizo’s last year and Maru’s sophomore year.
    During that game, Maru played with so much passion. I can really sense her burning desire to win. Nag cramps pa nga sya and eventually got hospitalized.

    I got hooked up in volleyball ever since. I told myself: “kung ganito ka-passionate maglaro lahat ng players, then this is a sport worth watching.”

    Maru’s UAAP career may be over, but her passion in playing volleyball will continue to draw people to watch the sport. That is the mark of a great athlete.

    As a UST alumna, I just would like to say this: “Thank you Maru, for serving our alma mater well. We will always be grateful for the time and effort that you poured out for the USTWVT. We are proud of you and we will be supporting your career as a professional volleyball player. There are greater things ahead.”

  6. Everything happens for a reason…Thanks for all those wonderful years playing for UST…God bless you & goodluck on your life choices:-) you’ll be surely missed…@ bengga – truly appreciate this article… Though truth hurts…bye for now sweet Tiger πŸ™‚

  7. ndi ako tga Uste ndi ako actually fan ng UST pero nung nkita ko ung Puso mu sa paglalaro napa palakpak ako
    dahil dun. nkisigaw sa GO Uste! Kse andun ka. nung nalaman kong ndi kna maglalaro nkklungkot pro
    lhat naman ng bagay may dahilan. Pag may nawawala may darating na mas ok. Sbe nga nila pag lamang na yung lungkot
    sa saya tama na. let go na. Khit saang team ka mpunta papalakpak pa din ako kse alam ko na jersey mu lang naman
    yung magbabago eh. ndi yung puso mu sa paglalaro. Gudluck to you Maru:) always remember na when people walks away
    from you its not the end of their story, it is the end of their part in ur story. Gud luck sa career and God Bless:)

  8. This is beautifully written. Kudos, Bengga. On Maru, she’s slowly getting her old form back sa PLDT. Plus, mahina open spikers ng PLDT. So maybe, blessing in disguise na rin na di siya na-line up for UST. Goodluck, Maru! :>

  9. we don’t know the whole story yet since we haven’t heard the side of coach odjie. it is hard to judge, really.

    but so far, i really think that maru was deprived of her last playing year.

    i really hope that this will not deliver a bad message to potential recruits. if i remember it right, maru was a blue chip rookie and was highly recruited. she CHOSE to stay and did not go to ateneo, lasalle, or NU as with her contemporaries. she may have not performed well last season, but that girl is loyal. how do you repay loyalty? the decision has been made but i really hope that they communicated well with maru to atleast ease that feeling of rejection.

    again, we don’t know the whole story. i may be wrong.

  10. i am a fan of maru banacticla…unang taon plng nya s ust,,nagpakita n agad cya ng diterminasyon to win a game..one time nga hinabol ko p cia s isang mall to get her authograph..and isang pagkktaon din mkalro cia s isang game way back ..high school p yta cia nun…dun plng sigurado nko sbi ko s srili ko malayo mrrating ng batang ito..kya sau maru gudluck..me plan c god…godbless and my prayers for you….godspeed..

  11. i feel so sad na hindi nakasama si maru sa line up, i was expecting a lot from her sana this upcoming uaap. Well, everything happens for a reason, i know that God put her to that position because He has a better plan for maru. In this case, we could say that she is a good example of being part of the ust team coz she really committed herself to it. Cheer up Maru! We will still support you till the end! Go USTe! πŸ™‚

  12. Nanghina ako after kung mabasa. Mixed emotions ata to. Kase at the same time, happy ako kase may mga opportunity na dumadating sayo ate Maru. Dba lahat ng bagay nangyayari dahil may rason, at ang rason na yun ay para sa kabutihan natin. Di ko rin naman masasabi na hndi ata pra sayo yun kase wala akong alam sa nangyari.. bsta Ate maru just stay strong and inspire people. sobrang sakit ng feeling na yun pero alam ko you can get it through. Marami kaming sumusuporta sayo. At isa pa, base sa mga games na napapanood ko, ang galing mo tlaga. Mautak,Wise, humble at sympre maganda. Sayong sayo na ang pagiging maganda. πŸ™‚
    Ate Maru, from the bottom of my heart sama mo na ang lungs at kidney ko.
    I love you and I will always be your fan! inside or outside the court. -EdenCesista with love ❀

  13. Ang sakit sakit :'(((( I can’t help but cry after reading this article πŸ˜₯ Ang SAKIT </3 Fan ako ni Maru simula nung rookie sya </3 Isa ako sa nag wi-wish na sana makita ko pa si Maru ngayong season </3 pero ito pala dahilan, GRABEE!:'((( </3 determined pa naman sya UST sa Final.Sayang yung effort nya, Pero MARAMING MARAMING MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT SAYONG LOYALTY πŸ˜₯ SA LAHAT NG CONTRIBUTION MO SA UST COMMUNITY SIMULA NUNG HS KA :'(((((( SALAMAT DIN AT NAGING PARTE KA NG UST72 AT SALAMAT DIN SA BACK2BACK BEACH VOLLEY CHAMP. I PROMISE TO SUPPORT YOU KAHIT SANG TEAM KAPA πŸ˜₯

    SAKIT </3 IBALIK NYO SI MARUUUUUUU! <///////3

  14. :Kakahilig ko plang sa volleyball eh uaap s75 pero di ko napanuod ust nun kse finals lang anyways nung nagumpisa na ako mahilig sa volleyball isa si maru sa mga naka caught ng attention ko.Looking forward pa man din ako na mapanuod ko syia ngayong season 😦 Heads up Maru ! Smileeeee :)))

  15. Now I understand. Salamat Bengga. Salamat Maru! Mahal kita, FOREVER! UST man, Smart, PLDT o kahit nasa ACLC/STI volleyball team ka na. Salamat sa loyalty! Yun lang, panalo na! Go USTe! Go USTe! Go USte! GO! GO! GO! GO!

  16. Im a solid supporter of Maruja since her first year and sinusuportahan at nirerespeto ko lahat ng desisyon nya….pero ngayon ko lang nalaman na ganito pala sitwasyon… im so Sad for my idol =( she doesnt deserve this, naglolook forward pa naman akong tawagin siya one day na “Captain Maru” pero ngayon di na talaga pwede……
    basta kahit ano mangyari, I will support Maru all the way
    Goodluck to her Professional career as a Volleyball player.

  17. Sobrang nakakalungkot nagulat ako nung nalaman ko, never pa akong naka panuod ng UAAP recently lang ako na hook sa sports na to pero nung napanuod ko mga previous game definitely isa ka sa mga players na inaabangan ko. Im still happy na din coz i know maglalaro pa din sa pro league. Goodluck Maru. :))

  18. I’m not really a die hard fan of UST after Balse and Bernal’s playing years. But when I saw Maru, I said na “one day magiging ganyan din ako kagaling” and I idolize her. And this open confe ng SVL sabi ko,”bumalik na yung dating Maru! Aabangan ko na ulit sya this season ng UAAP”kasi we all know naman na medyo down yung laro nya last season. But it didn’t lessen the way I look at her. Susubaybayan pa rin kita,Ate! Sana mameet kita. πŸ™‚

  19. I feel the pain πŸ˜₯ Im a ateneo fan but not a hater of other team nor players, and i just so love maru banaticla of ust, actually she is the first player of ust who captured my attention, you can see the dedication on her, the will to win, the love on the sport and her love on the school. Surely lot of fans will miss her to see playing in UST. Wonderful 4 years maru πŸ™‚ You inspired lots of people. Godbless you and Goodluck to your future endeavor πŸ™‚

  20. I love you, Maru! Since day 1 pa lang ng makita kitang maglaro on your rookie year sa SVL and UAAP, naging solid fan mo na ko. Kahit may mga games na hindi maganda nilalaro mo, hindi nawala tiwala ko sayo. Dahil alam kong babawi at babawi ka. I love you and I’ll continue to support you!

  21. Hindi ako solid fan ni Ms. Maru Banaticla pero sa ilang season na napanood ko siya, alam ko na may puso sa bawat laro niya. Alam ko na para sa UST kaya siya naglalaro. Yung mga panahon na umiyak siya kasi natalo sila, yung mga panahon na tumatalon talon siya sa court kasi panalo sila, lahat yun nakita ko, nakita namin. Magpakatotoo na tayo, hindi masyadong namaximize si Maru last season. Marahil dito ay nawalan siya ng momentum pero nung nabasa ko tong post na to, alam kong babawi sa this season, her last season. Ngunit sadyang ganun ata talaga, sadyang hanggang dun na lang. Heads up, Ms. Maru! 4 years na ang nabuhos mo, sobra sobra na yun πŸ™‚ proud ang Thomasians sayo at ang fans mo at fans ng volleyball πŸ™‚ Madami pang opportunity dyan πŸ™‚ huwag ka lang susuko and keep improving πŸ™‚ gawin mong motivation ito!!! God bless ❀

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