Kat Tolentino believes that the newly-assembled Choco Mucho Flying Titans have all the tools to make it into the playoffs in the 2019 PVL Open Conference, which starts on August 11.
“I think this team has the potential to make Final Four,” the Fil-Canadian spiker declared. “With our goal as a new team, there are always expectations.
“For me, though, right now, I want to focus on Final Four.”
Tolentino, along with Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon, and Kim Gequillana, is coming off a championship run with the Lady Eagles in the UAAP; and the Ateneo quartet is looking to translate their winning culture from the collegiate ranks into the pro realm.
However, the 24-year-old knows that making a jump from the collegiate scene to the big league requires a “big adjustment”, but having a familiar coach in Oliver Almadro at the helm would ease the transition.
“These are all new girls with us and it’s a new experience, but I mean, with Coach O, a lot of the stuff remain the same for us — his system, his way of coaching, and his conditioning,” Tolentino opined.
Completing the cast are Acy Masangkay from Cignal, Shange Berte from Cocolife, Dianne Ticar from Iriga-Navy, Cindy Imbo from Perpetual Help and UST spiker Carla Sandoval, who also played with Foton.
Madayag, for her part, acknowledges that the team has yet to reach a month into its training. Still, she puts a lot of stock on her battle-tested teammates and thinks that their vast experience in playing with various club teams would help with building their cohesion.
“Preparation-wise, kaka-start lang namin. July One kami nag-start ng training but then the thing is, it’s a pro team na. Maraming nang gulang sa amin, marami nang veterans,” the 5-foot-11 middle blocker said.
“So siguro naman hindi ganoon kahirap kasi lahat marunong nang makipag-communicate.”
Madayag also said that they only have one thing in mind amidst all the lofty expectations. As she put it, “What we plan to do is we just play our best until we reach a certain goal.”
De Leon, who is currently in New York with her family, expresses her excitement to play for the Rebisco-backed team through a video message.
“I’m really more excited to start a new chapter of my career still with my seniors and my batchmates and alongside my other new teammates whom I’m really excited to play on the court,” said the 5-foot-11 middle blocker, who won the UAAP Season 81 Finals MVP two months ago.
“Don’t know what to expect yet but I know we’re going to give our best.”