UAAP 82: Tolentino back for last flight as a Lady Eagle
Mark Escarlote on Nov 28, 2019 02:23 PM
Kat Tolentino will see action in her fourth and last playing eligibility for the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles.
Kat Tolentino has decided to play her final year for the Ateneo de Manila University.
It may have taken the power-hitter some time to think it over but Tolentino will definitely don the blue and white uniform for her fourth and last season as the Lady Eagles bid for back-to-back titles in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament starting February next year.
The 6-foot-3 Filipino-Canadian on Thursday officially announced her return for the Oliver Almadro-mentored squad.
“As much as I love playing for the commercial league I found that playing for the UAAP is a whole different experience,” said Tolentino, who during the off-season played for ChocoMucho in the Premier Volleyball League. "There is something so unique about the competitiveness of the UAAP that I feel is hard to recreate. The rivalry between schools is not just about playing for pride but for something bigger than yourself. Its also about playing for your teammates and for all those who’ve supported you."
Her return will give the Lady Eagles the much-needed veteran presence along with Ponggay Gaston, playmaker Deanna Wong, Jules Samonte and libero Dani Ravena.
“I’ve been following the current Ateneo team especially during the PVL collegiate conference and I am proud to see how strong they are already. There's still a few more months to prepare and I look forward to being back with them and contributing in any way I can,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino led Ateneo in a dramatic come-from-behind best-of-three Finals series win over the Sisi Rondina-led University of Sto. Tomas for the Lady Eagles' first title since winning it all in back in 2014 and 2015.
After claiming her first crown, Tolentino gave an emotional speech during the team’s thanksgiving Mass at the Church of Gesu inside the Ateneo campus.
She talked about her three ACL injuries and unforgettable championship season before saying, “This is Kat Tolentino, No. 10, signing off” back in May this year.
But it's a good thing she changed her mind with the guidance of her management, Virtual Playground.
"Well, initially I thought that because I graduated college and won the championship it was time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. I have been in college for a while and have played volleyball for well over 10 years," Tolentino explained. "So I just felt like I wanted to experience something different and start to play in the commercial league to make the most out of my volleyball career."
Tolentino will play a bigger role this season not just as the team’s top scoring option but also the young Lady Eagles’ leader after the departure of Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon.
She will pilot a squad that will have promising rising stars in Faith Nisperos and Joan Narit, sophomore setter Jaja Maraguinot and Vannie Gandler.
"Our goal will always be the UAAP championship. But coming into this season I feel like I will try to bring more skills and experience from what I learned in playing for Choco Mucho in PVL," Tolentino said.
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