UAAP: Tolentino taking things day by day, undecided on Ateneo return

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2020 02:22 PM

Ateneo's Kat Tolentino (10) celebrates with setter Jaja Maraguinot during their game against the UP Fighting Maroons. UAAP Media

MANILA, Philippines -- Ateneo de Manila University veteran Kat Tolentino had an inkling that UAAP Season 82 would not play out as planned, even before its eventual cancellation in April.

The start of the volleyball tournaments had to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the Lady Eagles played just two games before all tournaments were halted. The UAAP eventually terminated the season on April 7. 

The cancellation of the UAAP was a blow to Tolentino, who was a major factor in their run to the Season 81 crown. She had initially decided to focus on her club career with Choco Mucho in the Premier Volleyball League, but made an about-face in November 2019 and decided to return for her final year of eligibility with the Lady Eagles.

"It was definitely a heart-breaker, just because I was so excited to be coming back. As you know, I decided not to play, and I decided to come back, so having that excitement again and being able to experience it for two games, it was just super frustrating and heartbreaking, of course," Tolentino said in an appearance on the "So She Did" podcast.

That said, Tolentino was not particularly surprised at the development.

"I kind of even prepared myself. Once I heard all the stuff about COVID and once I heard all the news, I kind of had that feeling in the back of my mind," she said. "I mean, of course, safety first."

The Lady Eagles went 1-1 in their two games, sweeping University of the Philippines before bowing to archrival De La Salle University in four sets in their second assignment.

Since the UAAP's cancellation, there have been plenty of questions regarding how the league will progress. Last week, UAAP officials bared that they were eyeing an early 2021 start, with events running concurrently in the mold of the Southeast Asian Games. 

Questions about athletes' eligibility have yet to be tackled, however. Many senior players barely got to see action in Season 82 before it was cancelled, Tolentino among them.

The Fil-Canadian standout is in no rush to make a decision about her future, though.

"I think for me, it's not something I can decide now," she said. "Of course, I'd be thankful if they allow me to go back, but I can't say anything, I can't say anything now if I would want to go back, or if I would go back."

One reason that Tolentino is hesitant to make a major career move is the uncertainty about sports, and even life in general.

"We're living in such a weird situation right now," she said. "I don't know where I'll be next year or if I'll still be here in Canada or wherever. I don't even know if I'll be in the Philippines at the time, or if I'll be here."

"Right now, I've been here (in Canada) so long. You just have to live by day I guess," she added.

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