When the Bataan Risers played the Quezon City Capitals a couple of weeks ago during a Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League match, one of those cheering on the team was this statuesque lady who seemed all too familiar to the crowd.
It was Ateneo Lady Eagle Katrina Tolentino who was there to cheer for her brother, Vince, who plays for the Risers. Vince himself recently graduated from Ateneo where he helped the Blue Eagles to their ninth UAAP men’s basketball title. But just a few weeks ago, Vince picked up another trophy — a D-League Foundation Cup championship with the Go For Gold Scratchers. And now, he has a chance to compete for another with Bataan in the ongoing MPBL Datu Cup.
His sister took the time to reflect on her brother’s whirlwind year. “Of course, I am very proud of everything he’s accomplished,” glowed the sister. “Two championships in one year is definitely something to be proud of. His success is just a reflection of all the hard work, dedication, and patience he’s put into the sport.”
When the Tolentino siblings moved to Manila to play for Ateneo, they found themselves struggling with their respective sports. Katrina suffered a knee injury right before the volleyball season started, while Vince himself struggled to find his game and playing time.
“Both Vince and I have experienced times where we wanted to go back home to Canada, but I am sure we’re both thankful for where we are now,” Katrina acknowledged.
Vince raised his level of play over the past two seasons in blue and white under head coach Tab Baldwin. He parlayed his UAAP play into a slot with the Gilas Cadets.
Katrina, on the other hand, got healthy and became an integral part of the Lady Eagles squads that reached the finals two seasons ago and the final four last year. When Katrina has a game, as busy as Vince is playing for Go For Gold and Bataan (aside from the national team), he also finds time to watch his sister’s volleyball matches.
Admittedly, watching each other’s matches isn’t easy. Katrina though acknowledged the nervousness that comes with watching her sibling’s matches. “I think of how anxious we both get when watching each other’s games. It’s to the point where we get more nervous watching from the crowd than actually playing on the court.”
“Basketball was his life growing up,” related the sister. “We had this hoop outside our house in Canada and I remember that Vince would always be playing alone even after 8 p.m. when it was dark. Our family is competitive and he definitely carried on that trait. During his grade school days, he’d always challenge our older cousins and he’d surprisingly beat them.”
With the Risers at 6-1 and in the midst of a six-match winning streak, Katrina preaches patience to her brother and his teammates. “Be patient and know that everyone’s time will come. You may feel like you’ve given everything and that things are not going your way, but there’s always a bigger picture that God has in store for everyone.”
The Risers play in the Bataan People’s Center this coming September 12 against the Valenzuela CDO Idol Cheesedog.
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