Both Vince and Kat Tolentino were tested during their times in Ateneo de Manila University.
Yes, the grind of being a student-athlete took its toll on the Filipino-Canadians physically. But the emotional aspect was more difficult.
“The first few stages of my Ateneo career were very difficult,” recounted Vince, who played a total of just 242 minutes in his first three years. “I was a young teenager so far away from home, with a dream and without a chance to go on the floor to prove himself.
“I thought of going back home to Canada or transferring to another school.”
“My first ACL humbled me as a player and made me more grateful for my health and talent. The second ACL made me reconsider moving to the Philippines and going to Ateneo,” admitted Kat, as she would only make her debut with the Lady Eagles in 2017 – three years after first arriving in the Philippines. “By the third ACL, I had already considered to stop playing volleyball and to be a regular student.
“It was to the point where I couldn’t even watch Ateneo games because I was afraid to see athletes jump and land or fall because of the fear of my injury.”
Ironic as it sounds, Vince and Kat ended up lifting their squads to the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Basketball and Season 81 Women’s Volleyball championship respectively, in their final years.
All the sacrifices, the pain, and the tears were all worth it.
As Kat hoisted the UAAP championship, Vince could not help but tear up for his sister.
“This is a blessing for her. She finally got one. We both have one now.”
More importantly, the two – just like the Ravenas – have given back to the institution that broke them down before rebuilding them into much better individuals.
“We’re there also,” Vince said about being part of Ateneo royalty.
“We’re grateful. It’s a blessing, it’s a blessing.”