AS Ateneo will lose middle blockers Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag to graduation, the Lady Eagles are bracing for opposite spiker Kat Tolentino’s next move.
If and when Tolentino makes her decision, the newly-minted UAAP women’s volleyball champions will be right behind her.
“Irerespeto ko naman kung ano yung desisyon niya,” said Lady Eagles coach Oliver Almadro.
Ateneo claimed its third championship - and the first since 2015 - after beating University of Santo Tomas in the best-of-three series last Saturday.
The Lady Eagles are not rushing on Tolentino and Almadro is hoping for the best, which is to have the Fil-Canadian back for next year’s title-retention campaign.
”I’m praying for Kat to discern well. Hindi pa kami umaabot sa semifinals, I confessed to Kat na I’m really praying for her na magkakaroon siya ng right discernment,” said Almadro.
Last year, Almadro played a big role in having De Leon back for her final season with the Lady Eagles and the end result was a title to go with the Finals MVP award.
Tolentino’s future with Ateneo remains hanging in the balance, as the Katipunan faithful hopes that it will be the same as De Leon.
”I’m not sure yet. With what Coach O said, we just have to pray for it, but I don’t wanna say anything now,” said Tolentino, whose older brother Vince won a men’s basketball championship for the Blue Eagles.
“I’m just thankful to God for making the journey hard, but memorable because without those three ACL injuries, I wouldn’t have had as much passion. I wouldn’t be here today because of that,” she added.
Meanwhile, Ateneo will savor the moment of regaining the throne.
“Let’s just focus on the championship celebration first,” said Tolentino.
The Lady Eagles will also lose converted libero Kim Gequillana, who incidentally, was also a part of the 2014 and 2015 champion squads.