Amid the celebrations following the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ third UAAP women’s volleyball championship, a particular video totally left their fanbase shook to the core.
“This is Kat Tolentino, number 10, signing off.”
— Ateneo Volleyball (@admuvolleyball) May 18, 2019
When the junior opposite spiker said this in a thanksgiving mass at the Church of the Gesu, fans quickly turned to Twitter and made their call known: #OneMoreYearKat.
Tolentino finally clinched a championship with the Lady Eagles after vanquishing the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in a straight-set victory, 25-17, 25-22, 25-22, yesterday to take the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball title at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The league-leading squad played poised and in system in their winner-take-all match yesterday, playing a cleaner game and bringing back their usual block party, evident with their 16 errors and 14 blocks in the match.
The Lady Eagles relied once again on Tolentino, who topscored with 15 points to bring her team back to lost glory after a three-year championship drought.
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) May 18, 2019
Despite having another playing year with the Katipunan team based on new eligibility rules, Tolentino has apparently decided to forego playing for the Lady Eagles according to her speech last night.
With the revelation, some of the Ateneo faithful turned to social media and expressed their hopes of seeing the opposite spiker don the blue and white one more time.
Kat Tolentino has officially signed off from the UAAP and foregoes her final playing year for Ateneo.
Please pray to St. @chris_tiu, the patron saint of the athletes coming back after foregoing their final year. We need his intercession. #OneMoreYearKat #AteneoThanksgivingMass
— James Vitaliano (@jamesvitaliano) May 18, 2019
Can we all trend #OneMoreYearKat and pray that she changes her mind? ☹️💙🦅
— #OneMoreYearKat 💙🦅 (@JeDean__) May 18, 2019
— Thank you, Seniors 💙 (@AteneoBalibol) May 18, 2019
Amid the calls for one more year, some have already accepted Tolentino’s decision and thanked her for playing three years with the Lady Eagles despite the uphill battle she had to face because of her injuries.
Thank you for foregoing your last playing year Kat. I had a feeling about it already. It kinda hurts but you deserve this because 6 years with Ateneo was never easy. Spread your wings and fly higher, Katrina! No more #OneMoreYearKat. 💙 #HurricaneKATOut pic.twitter.com/15CAsOP2lw
— Micaella Soliman (@bleusoliman) May 18, 2019
“This is Kat Tolentino, #10, signing off.”
You’ve done enough for the team, Kat! 3 ACL injuries are not easy but still you’re with the team to fight and to get the title 😊 Thank you for the One Big Fight, Kat 💙#ThankYouSeniors #OneMoreYearKAT pic.twitter.com/Sh8x3e7k6i
— Vicious 🖤 (@heyynnanana) May 18, 2019
KAT TOLENTINO. Conquering 3 ACL injuries is no joke. You have proved yourself a monstrous and unstoppable player. Thank you for pushing yourself to be the best for Ateneo. You deserve to exit as a champion, Hurricane Katrina! 🦅 You'll be missed! #ThankYouSeniors #OneMoreYearKat
— Team Ateneo (@RiseAteneo) May 18, 2019
Tolentino has had quite a rough journey in her volleyball career. In her thanksgiving speech, she referenced about the three ACL injuries she had and what it meant to her development as a volleyball player.
“I’ve had three torn ACLs within three years. That’s not something that is normal for an athlete–usually you can’t come back from that. So I always ask why God gave me these obstacles. But it is only this year that I started to realize why he did that,” Tolentino said.
“My first ACL injury humbled me as a player and made me more grateful for my health and talent. My second ACL injury made me reconsider moving to the Philippines and going to Ateneo–at that time, I never even thought of coming here. By the third, I had decided to stop playing volleyball and to be a student,” she added.
Tolentino also mentioned being afraid of watching Ateneo’s volleyball games because of her injury, but she was proud of being able to overcome such an obstacle and making the most out of the opportunities given to her.
“I was scared to watch athletes jump and land or fall because of the fear of the injury. But here I am standing today with these amazing group of girls with a championship trophy. This championship, this season, and these girls have made those three ACL injuries absolutely worth it, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she said.
After thanking her coaches and her teammates for the wonderful three years with Ateneo, Tolentino concluded her speech with a decision.
“I’m an athlete with three ACL injuries, one absolutely unforgettable championship, and one Ateneo family forever. This is Kat Tolentino, number 10, signing off.”