After fighting through 3 ACL tears, Ateneo’s Kat Tolentino finds blessings
MANILA, Philippines – Third time’s the charm, as they say.
Kat Tolentino isn't the first athlete to suffer an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury, with more than 200,000 cases reported each year, according to a study by the University of California at San Francisco. The same study has also revealed that while ACL injuries are more prevalent in males, female athletes somehow show a higher risk of getting injured as they are 2-8 times more prone when playing sports.
For Tolentino, however, it’s a different story altogether.
In her years of playing volleyball, the 22-year-old Fil-Canadian sustained not one or two, but 3 ACL injuries. The first two incidents took place while Tolentino was playing back in her hometown in Vancouver, Canada. She was once-again injured, this time in the Philippines, as she tore her ACL during a V-League warm-up in 2015 - sending her to the sidelines before her anticipated UAAP debut for the Ateneo Lady Eagles in Season 78.
Having never given up despite suffering 3 tears, Tolentino is finally finding a spark of light at the end of the tunnel.
Tolentino and the rest of the Lady Eagles climbed their way to a 25-20, 25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 15-8 victory against the gritty Far Eastern University, booking a ticket to this year’s semifinals in the process. With their eighth straight win and eighth straight Final Four appearance, the Katipunan-based squad has a lot to celebrate for.
“We just talked about how it was a good game, even if it went to 5 sets,” the open spiker told Rappler after the match. “It just showed our heart and how we were able to come back so Coach [Tai Bundit] just said, a win is a win.
“I think it’s definitely a confidence booster to be in the top, so going into future games, it’ll really help us to play confidently and to keep pushing.”
Tolentino’s contributions for the Lady Eagles this season have been undeniable, with her breaking into the top 10 best spikers (ranked 4th) after the first round, proving just that. But apart from Ateneo’s nifty UAAP campaign, Tolentino welcomed another blessing on her doorstep as she was one of the handpicked collegiate players in the 25-woman national team training pool for the country’s campaign in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
“It’s definitely been an exciting year,” smiled the 6-foot-3 Tolentino, whose brother Vince likewise suits up for the blue and white’s basketball squad.
“I’m just super thankful for all the opportunities, and that I’m able to perform and just help the team in any way that I can.”
“The national team is just another blessing that I’m just super thankful for. Hopefully we can continue this throughout the rest of the season,” she added.
Even with injuries in her past, Tolentino has found her own way of rising up as she now stands proud, battle scars and all. 2017 may have already been a fruitful one, but her journey is just starting. －Rappler.com