MANILA, Philippines – When Kim Gequillana signed out from the Ateneo de Manila University women's volleyball team on Saturday, she did so with three UAAP championships – more than any other Lady Eagle.
Gequillana was a rookie when Ateneo won its breakthrough title in Season 76, a dramatic run that saw them dethrone De La Salle University. She was also part of the Season 77 team that went a perfect 16-0 in the tournament.
She was a factor in their runs to the finals of Seasons 78 and 79, establishing herself as one of the most reliable service specialists in the league. Unfortunately, an ACL injury prevented her from playing in what should have been her final year in Season 80.
Gequillana opted to return for Season 81, which saw plenty of change for her and the team as a whole. Coach Tai Bundit was replaced by Oliver Almadro, who installed Gequillana as the team's main libero after she had spent the bulk of her career as a service specialist.
"Kim accepted the challenge," praised Almadro last Saturday, after the Lady Eagles concluded Season 81 as women's volleyball champions.
Gequillana alternated with Dani Ravena as libero in Ateneo's triumph over University of Santo Tomas, which saw them drop the first game of the best-of-3 series only to recover with back-to-back wins.
That ensured that Gequillana leaves the team with more championships than any other Ateneo women's player – an achievement that her teammates made sure to highlight afterward.
"It's really memorable for me," said the soft-spoken Gequillana. "Especially this year, kasi we really worked hard. It was really teamwork that put us here where we are now."
For the veteran, their heartbreaks in Seasons 78 and 79, as well as her ACL injury, only ramped up her motivation this season. She shared the same hunger as Kat Tolentino, who suffered three ACL tears before coming into her own as Ateneo's No. 1 scoring option this year.
"Just like Kat, parang the passion is there," said Gequillana. "The fire, the comeback, I really wanted to push and parang yung mindset ko, whatever that would help. I'll do whatever that could help the team."
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