Crush of the moment: Ateneo’s ‘girl tower’ Kat Tolentino
Know a little bit more about this rising star from the Katipunan squad. (Photos taken from Tolentino's Instagram: @katrinamaetolentino)
Name: Katrina Tolentino
Birthday: January 27, 1995
Zodiac sign: Aquarius
Course: BS Management, Ateneo de Manila University
Current position and team: Open spiker
Who she’s dating: None
Where and when we started crushing on her: Ateneo fans have long been anticipating the Fil-Canadian’s chance to play in the collegiate league—if not her for her third ACL injury that has relegated her back to the sidelines. For spectators only just getting to catch up with the UAAP, this is technically just her “rookie” year. We have spotted the towering Tolentino make an instant mark at her debut UAAP game against the UST Tigresses, scoring with seven out of fifteen spikes. She even trended on Twitter that day—her reaction? “I don’t have a Twitter account! But it is definitely encouraging to see that people are recognizing and supporting me through social media. The positive comments are definitely a confidence booster!”
Why we find her crushable: Past her 6’2” height that would intimidate anyone within vicinity, Tolentino seems to be delivering enough to make her the next big threat from the blue team. She helped Ateneo fly to the top in the current standings, after shooting nine points in their recent victory over the formerly unbeaten Lady Maroons. (She’s also been reliable in terms of net defense!) Tolentino has the experience to back it up, having learned volleyball after following in her sister Stephanie’s footsteps. Yep, love of the court does run in their family as Tolentino’s brother Vince also plays for the Ateneo Blue Eagles!
How she maintains her being crushable: Thanks to volleyball, Tolentino has no problem staying in shape. Her fitness mantra: “It is best to work out early in the morning so you have no excuses and are energized for the day.” Simplicity is the name of Tolentino’s game when it comes to dressing up. In terms of what to wear, the statuesque student-athlete has the following tip for young girls idolizing her for her looks. “Spend more on a really good quality pair of jeans so you can always mix and match your tops with it.” And as for getting that glow, “If you are short on time, just put on a nice neutral lipstick or lip gloss to look a little more made up.”
Why she’s not just a pretty face: What we find awe-inspiring about Tolentino are not only her looks and game play, but her perseverance. After suffering through two ACL tears, she had another one to spoil her opportunity to don the blue-and-white before Season 78. She sustained it at the warm-ups of a V-League game forcing her to sit it out for a year. Her injury, which she has repeatedly said in interviews as her most “painful” one, somehow didn’t stop her from getting back. How? Through the support of her loved ones, and, reporting to Rick Olivares in a previous story, through an article she read online about an athlete who still played after going through four ACL surgeries and one meniscus surgery. She was so inspired she even messaged the subject about it!
Game day. "Fall seven times, stand up eight." I thought this photo would be my last one on the court but God truly does work in mysterious ways. Thank you Lord for giving me another opportunity to play the sport I love. It's been a tough journey but now the day is finally here! I know there is still long road ahead but I'm beyond grateful for everything and everyone who has helped me get to this point. #ThirdTimesACharm #OBF 💙
Who she is off the court: Tolentino oozes with humility despite her being already an Ateneo rising star. “I just started UAAP so I don’t really consider myself as a superstar,” she declares. If at all, Tolentino’s growing contribution to the scoreboard next to top hitters Bea de Leon, Michelle Morente, and Jho Maraguinot is just about servicing her school and the fans. She says of the pressure, “It is both a blessing and curse. A blessing because of the unbelievable amount of love and support we get every game. But also a curse because of the pressure that it puts on the team. I already witnessed it over the past years when I wasn’t playing so I was aware of how crazy it can get sometimes.” She is, however, not oblivious to the fame. On how she acts on the popularity of the Lady Eagles and UAAP volleyball in general, she says, “I learned what to keep private and public on my social media. For example, I usually have Facebook for just my family and friends and then Instagram for any other followers.”
Why we can’t wait to see more of her: She’s been called Ateneo’s tallest player yet and an Alyssa Valdez in the making, but Tolentino knows she has yet to grow as an athlete. It’s all about team effort for this gal. Talking about feeling the pressure as all eyes are set on her after the Lady Phenom’s exit in the league, she says, “I focused more on improving and helping my team in anyway I could. I knew that my teammates were always there to help so I did not have to put so much pressure on myself.”