Morente says she’s learned her lesson
Mark Escarlote on Aug 12, 2016 10:37 PM
I’m starting from zero again, to push myself harder in academics. I’m confident I can do it --- Michelle Morente
Michelle Kathereen Morente was waiting for her game in a tourney at the Sand, SM by the Bay staged by Beach Volleyball Republic sometime last May when she received the most important text message of her life.
She says she cried, screamed and jumped in exhilaration, puzzling the other beach volleyball participants around her.
“Guys,” she shouted, voice cracking and tears streaming down her cheeks. “I’m back.”
Former Lady Blue Eagles Charo Soriano, Bea Tan, Dzi Gervacio and Gretchen Ho at once understood what Morente meant, that she’s back with the Ateneo squad after a one-year suspension.
The text message came from an employee at the Ateneo athletic department informing her that she just earned the academic grades that would install her back on the team.
FYI, Morente had been meted out the suspension prior to what was supposed to be her third year in the UAAP not because of failing marks.
Far from it.
She had passed all her subjects, but her weighted average fell short of the school’s academic requirements for its student-athletes to keep their places on their respective teams. The suspension had disallowed her to join the training as well as its trips, outings and other activities. She could watch the Lady Blue Eagles in tournaments and cheer them from the sidelines, though.
Which was what made it all the more agonizing for her, particularly when the team was struggling and needed all the help it could get.
“I felt bad that I could do nothing for my teammates. I trained for that and could have contributed something to help them, but was rendered helpless by my suspension.”
The five-foot-seven Morente, 21, who was born in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, says the joy of playing for athletes like her is beyond description and vows not to lose it ever again.
“I’m starting from zero again, to push myself harder in academics. I’m confident I can do it.”
Morente has been training with the Lady Blue Eagles for at least two months now and is back in her role as a key player of Ateneo in the ongoing Shakey’s V-League Season 13-College Conference organized by Sports Vision in partnership with official outfitter Accel and official ball Mikasa.
Jolly and gregarious
Not a few think Morente is a bit overweight but she laughs it off gleefully.
“Please, no dieting for me. If I go on diet I’ll die in training.”
She describes the Ateneo training under coach Tai Bundit as punishingly hard.
Jolly and gregarious are the words that best describe this young woman who, after graduating from the elementary in Philippine Women’s University-JASM, lived with her mother in the United States and stayed there until after completing the equivalent of third year high school in Freedom High School in Oakley, California, for which she played varsity volleyball.
Her parents are separated. She spent her early years with her paternal grandmother in Or. Mindoro until her dad took her to Manila to live with him and his new family. It was, she says, her stepsister, Julia, a volleyball player of PWU-JASM at the time, who inspired her to take up the sport as well.
Back in PWU-JASM, she joined the tryouts for the national team at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Vito Cruz. Then Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb spotted her there and recruited her for the Katipunan-based school.
One might think that the fierce rivalry raging between the Ateneo Lady Blue Eagles and the De La Salle Lady Spikers whenever they play each other is spilling outside the court as well.
The bubbly Morente, who goes for comfy shirts and short shorts, debunks that misconception.
“I am friends with Kim Fajardo, Kim Dy and Aby Marano,” Morente declares.