Mar-Jana’s important mission

Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Nads Ong - Correspondent - @nadineisreal
Photo courtesy of Juniata Eagles’ Facebook page

Aside from suiting up for Sta. Lucia in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference starting next week, Mar-Jana Phillips is looking to accomplish another important mission – represent the country in major international tournaments.

A daughter of an American serviceman named Bobby and a Filipino housewife from Zambales named Rowena, Phillips could be the answer to the national team’s dearth in the open spiker position.

She is a six-footer who can light up the scoreboard and attack with authority. In fact, she earned All-California Interscholastic honors and was selected as Coastal League Player of the Year in her senior season in high school at Rolling Hills Preparatory.

Phillips carried her stellar performance in college when she powered Pennsylvania-based Juniata College in various American leagues, including the Landmark Conference.

Now that she’s finally home, the soft-spoken attacker vowed to bring a lot of energy and assert her exciting brand of game to the Lady Realtors, who finished without a single win in the PSL Invitationals.

And with another United States-based player in Rebecca Rivera serving as starting setter, Phillips expect that her transition will be seamless.

“You can expect a lot of energy and focus from me since I’m very excited to play for this team. I know there’s a lot of expectations, so I really hope I can achieve it.”

Phillips, who has been training regularly with the Lady Realtors for the past three weeks, admitted that she’s still adjusting, but she’s coping up very well.

“It’s totally different. There are a lot of similarities and differences from the American game that I have to get used to.”
“Everyone here just ‘go go go.’ But I like it because the players are exerting a lot of energy and passion as well.”

For the country

But more than anything else, it’s her love for the country that brought her here.

She said since she was a child, her mother has been pushing her to try her luck in the Philippines to make her countrymen, especially their relatives, proud.

She added that sharing her talent to the national team would be her greatest contribution to the country.

“I am ready to showcase a lot of knowledge from American training that I can use here.”
“Since I was little, my mom and I always watch Filipino volleyball and she’d always say that ‘one day, I want you to play for the Philippines.” So I was like ‘okay, mom.’”

A source claimed that Phillips can easily suit up for Team Philippines in the Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the Southeast Asian Games this August for being a holder of Philippine passport.

And if she turns out to be good as advertised, the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. (LVPI) would not hesitate to field her in the training of the 18-woman team and see if she can fit into the system of national coach Francis Vicente.

The insider said her possible entry could light a fire from under Rachel Anne Daquis, Jaja Santiago, Frances Molina, Alyssa Valdez and other scorers in the national team.

But Phillips is trying her best to tone it down.

She knows that she has to prove herself first before thinking of joining the national team.

“I really hope that after this tournament, I can get a chance to play here again, or maybe try my luck in the national team.”
“I’m also interested to know more about the Filipino culture and I know that this experience will be a good chance for me to understand it more.”

Phillips has been in Manila for less than a month, but the fire of patriotism is already burning in her heart.

She has an important mission to make.

And she will accomplish it for her mother, for her relatives, and most especially, for her country.