MICHELLE Morente sure made up or lost time on Saturday.
After spending the whole Season 78 on the sidelines due to academic problems, Morente reintroduced herself to La Salle as she fired in 25 points in Ateneo's 26-24, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17 win in the UAAP Women's volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Morente was as impressive on the defensive end as she was on offense, finishing with 19 digs and 12 excellent receptions, most of which came in the first two sets where the Lady Eagles had to storm back twice from late deficits to take control.
She was at her best in the fourth set where she peppered the La Sallian defense with everything from fiery attacks to off-speed spikes to keep the Lady Archers from getting any form or rhythm.
When asked if she was Ateneo's 'missing link' from the failed three-peat bid last year, Morente took it in stride.
"Flattered ako," Morente said, almost blushing, before deflecting the credit to her teammates for her performance. "Di ko naman magagawa yun without our coaches and our teammates na talagang tinutulungan ako."
Middle blocker Bea de Leon was definitely happy to have Morente back in this Ateneo group's first season without longtime leader Alyssa Valdez.
"With Mitch coming back, during the first set nung dikitan, dun sila (La Salle) nag-errors," de Leon said. "It all boiled down to experience. That's where we held down. That's the composure."
There's no doubt Morente enjoyed her comeback in the marquee game.
"Siyempre masaya dahil one year akong nawala e," she said. "Ang sarap sa feeling parang di ako nawala eh."