KAT Tolentino powered Ateneo-Motolite in completing a strong comeback over Petro Gazz, 25-21, 17-25, 19-25, 25-14,15-7, extending its unbeaten start in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference on Saturday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Despite falling to a 1-2 set deficit, the Lady Eagles never wavered as Tolentino provided the big blows in the fifth set in leading her team erect a 13-7 lead, before Maddie Madayag’s hit and Bea De Leon’s service ace iced their comeback win in two hours.
The 6-foot-2 Tolentino erupted with 24 points off 20 kills, three blocks, and an ace to keep the Lady Eagles unbeaten in two games against two club teams, the first Pocari Sweat-Air Force two weeks ago.
“I’m giving assignments to my players. I told Kat that she should bring us home,” Ateneo-Motolite head coach Oliver Almadro said on her Fil-Canadian player. “Kumbaga ang importante rito magkaroon ng confidence ‘yung teammates niya to her and siya rin sa sarili niya. Credit to everybody. Everybody played well.”
Madayag chipped in 16 points, built on 16 spikes and three blocks. Rookie Vanessa Gandler also shone with 15 points, while playmaker Deanna Wong scattered the offensive load with 23 excellent sets and also protected the floor with 18 digs, helping libero Dani Ravena, who had 27 receptions and 17 digs.
“I’m just telling my players that every day is a learning day. Pagdating sa loob ng court it’s an even field,” said Almadro, who only has less than 24 hours to prepare his team for BanKo Perlas Spikers on Sunday at 4 p.m. “I know ang kalaban namin are very much experienced, they’re stronger, they’re powerful. They know what they’re doing all the time, but I just kept on telling my players we just have to play the right way and trust each other.“
“I give it to the players they just refused to lose. They want to prove something."
"Pero sabi ko nga one game, two games won’t determine the character of Ateneo women’s volleyball team, we have to keep on learning. This is not the character we want, mayroon pa kaming kailangang buuin. We are just building our character. Hopefully soon we will show it on the right time,” he added.
The Lady Eagles refused to give up after losing to the Angels in the second and third set as they caught fire in the fourth frame building a 23-13 spread from Gandler and Madayag’s four straight points and never looked back to force a decider.
Petro Gazz’s two-game winning streak was halted as it dropped to a 3-3 record even Jonah Sabete did everything with 13 points including 17 digs and 16 excellent receptions, while Paneng Mercado and Cherry Nunag added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Angels will try to bounce back against Adamson-Akari Lady Falcons on Saturday next week.