MANILA, Philippines -- Whenever the next UAAP volleyball tournament starts, the Ateneo Lady Eagles will be without their star opposite hitter in Kat Tolentino.
The veteran confirmed Tuesday that she will no longer return to the Lady Eagles after the cancellation of Seasons 82 and 83.
"I will be playing for Choco Mucho and have already committed to them," Tolentino said.
Tolentino helped the Lady Eagles win the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball crown, winning Best Opposite Spiker honors along the way.
She initially decided to leave at the end of the season and pursue a professional career, but did an about face in November of 2019 and opted to play out her final year of eligibility.
Unfortunately, Season 82 did not work out as planned as the second semester sports were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lady Eagles played just two games, beating University of the Philippines in their opener before losing to archrivals De La Salle University in their second game.
It turned out to be the last game of Tolentino's collegiate career.
The UAAP has yet to make a decision on the eligibility status of "super seniors" like Tolentino, whose final seasons were cut short by the global health crisis.
But Tolentino has already decided to move forward with her career.
"Considering that the UAAP has been postponed the past two years, I'm sure I'm ineligible now," she pointed out.
"So instead, I am looking forward to focusing on the PVL (Premier Volleyball League) and being a professional athlete," she added.
According to her social media accounts, Tolentino is already back in the country and trained with Choco Mucho teammate Maddie Madayag today.
In the Flying Titans, she will team up with other former Ateneo stars including Bea de Leon, Jamie Lavitoria, Kim Gequillana, and libero Denden Lazaro. They will be coached by Ateneo mentor Oliver Almadro.
The PVL got the green light to turn professional last year, though the league has yet to announce when it will open its 2021 season.
Meanwhile, the UAAP has already cancelled Season 83.