Open spiker from Antique to play for UP next year

IRAH Jaboneta has formally committed to play for University of the Philippines' women's volleyball program.

The 5-foot-5 open spiker from Antique is more than ready to face the challenges, with the Fighting Maroons  determined to go further in Season 83 next year.

"Playing for UP is an honor and I expect that I can gain knowledge on how to improve myself inside and outside the court through our teamwork para mai-represent namin ng maayos ang UP. Also, I expect that UP will also teach me how to persevere and create a positive outlook towards balancing my studies at ang paglalaro ng volleyball," said Jaboneta.

A brother of UP men's basketball stalwart Janjan, Jaboneta suited up for Hope Christian High School before transferring to La Salle-Zobel, where she played indoor and beach volleyball in UAAP Season 82. Prior to her move to the Big City, Jaboneta went to Antique National School.

With the guidance of his brother, who was one of the key players in the Maroons' men's basketball Finals stint in 2018, Jaboneta is following Janjan's advices by heart on what it takes being an UP student-athlete.

"Magpakatotoo, yun yung sabi niya sakin kasi lahat ng students sa UP ay pantay-pantay yung turingan. Pag sa loob naman ng court, lakas ng loob, tiwala sa sarili at sa mga kasama," said Jaboneta.

Wearing jersey No. 10 in high school and with Maroons star Isa Molde as her idol and inspiration, Jaboneta wants to inherit Molde's qualities that she want to emulate in the game.

"When Ate Isa is playing inside the court, you can really see that she’s focused, that she really gives everything that she can to help the team and you can count on her in offense and defense. Kaya yun po yung mga gusto kong i-emulate sa kanya," said Jaboneta.

Aside from her impressive performance in indoor for La Salle-Zobel, Jaboneta also played in the sand court earlier this year in the first-ever UAAP high school beach volleyball tournament, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given a chance, Jaboneta also want to plays beach volleyball for UP since she somehow gained experience playing in the sand court.  In the past few years, the Maroons were among the top contenders for the beach volleyball crown. 

"If given a chance, yes po. My experience last season somehow helped me realize na hindi ganon kadali maglaro sa buhangin. Kaya dun ko po ako nagka interest pa lalo and it’s a great opportunity for me to explore another field in volleyball," said Jaboneta.

Ready to give her 100 percent best in every match, Jaboneta is determined to help the Maroons to remain as one of the teams to watch in the UAAP.