By: Ohmer Bautista
It seems that Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagle Kat Tolentino has yet to decide whether or not she will exhaust her final year of collegiate eligibility.
After Ateneo’s title-clinching win in Game Three of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Finals, Tolentino admitted that she is still uncertain about her future with the Lady Eagles.
“I’m not sure yet.
“You know, with what coach O [Almadro] said, you just have to pray for it. But I don’t want to say anything now,” the Fil-Canadian spiker confessed.
Tolentino has already been in Ateneo for five years.
Many will recall the ACL tear she suffered back in the V-League back in 2015, her third injury of the kind. It meant she only made her debut back in Season 79.
“After my third ACL tear, I wasn’t sure I was going to play,” Tolentino reflected.
“So I think having this championship and being here today is something that makes me speechless.”
Tolentino was pivotal in Ateneo’s Final Four runs in Season 79 and 80. Then in Season 81, she went supernova, especially in the Finals. Tolentino averaged 12.7 points per game in the series, while capping it all off in Game Three with 15 points to lead all Lady Eagles in scoring.
For coach Oliver Almadro, however, he wants the reigning Best Opposite Spiker to decide – not for the wishes of others, but for herself.
“I respect Kat. Siya bahala,” Almadro said, referring to Tolentino’s decision.
Still, he wants Tolentino to thoroughly think about her decision. He also constantly prays for her wholehearted resolve.
“I’m praying for Kat to discern well. Hindi pa kami umaabot sa semifinals, I confessed to Kat, I’m really praying na magkaroon siya ng right discernment,” the multi-division champion coach shared. “It’s not for me, it’s hers kasi ang importante diyan. Share your blessings, share your talent, share your gifts to everybody. Still, I will be patience.
“I will be praying for discernment ni Kat.”
Moreover, if ever Tolentino decides to return and play her fifth and final year, Almadro expressed that he will never take her decision for granted.
“‘Yung playing fifth year, it’s really hard.
“It’s a sacrifice. Mahirap talaga ‘yan. So if a player doesn’t leave your sisters, ibig sabihin, sobra-sobrang sacrifice and it’s really the will of the Lord for you,” he said.