From the streets of Bellflower in California, to R. Papa in Manila, Jerrili Malabanan is ready to make a name for herself in volleyball.
Malabanan moved to the Philippines to seek greater opportunities. Although she initially had a difficult time, she soon found a second home at the Far Eastern University Women’s Volleyball team.
The 19-year-old Biology major was born and raised in Bellflower, California. She agreed to relocate to Manila because her parents wanted it.
“I did not want to leave California. It was my home. I spent 18 years of my life there so I really had a hard time adjusting. But later I ended up trusting my parents’ decision,” she
In California she used to be a figure ice skater and a basketball player. It was her mom who pushed her to become a volleyball player.
“I’m thankful to my mom because without her, I am not an athlete today,” she pointed out.
Living alone in Manila, she used to cry a lot in her room especially when she misses her siblings, parents and friends and looks at their photos on Facebook and Instagram.
But she learned to cope.
“When I started playing volleyball again, everything started to become easier and better,” she said.
“I started to become happy again. It took me a year to adjust and I owe everything to my teammates, coaches and the school,” she added.
The 5’10” middle-outside hitter said that training twice a day is hard and rigorous.
She is grateful for making it to the lineup of the Lady Tamaraws. She was able to play in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
“It’s exciting to think that you get to show people what you’ve been working hard for in many months,” she said.
In the Lady Tamaraws’ last game this year against the National University Lady Bulldogs, Malabanan emerged as one of the rookies to watch out for.
“I’ll do my best and be ready for whatever the team needs,” she said.
And while making a name in volleyball is one of her priorities, Malabanan has a bigger dream—which is to go to medical school and become a doctor.
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