KAT Tolentino had to wait a while to experience her first Ateneo-La Salle match.
When it finally came, Tolentino made sure it was a memorable one.
The 6-foot-3 spiker, who missed last season due to an ACL injury, played a vital role in the team’s 26-24, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17 win over the Lady Spikers on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Tolentino scored 18 points, from 16 kills and two blocks, for her best output yet in the season as she emerged a dominant force at the net for a team that had just lost Alyssa Valdez.
“It was crazy experience,” said the rookie outside hitter. “I just wanted to help the team in any way I could.”
The Lady Eagles had to recover from a 19-23 deficit in the first set and climb out of a 20-23 hole in the second set before wrapping up the match in the fourth set.
Tolentino, who has had to deal with three ACL injuries in her young career, said matches like this one bring out the best from players.
“I think these types of games bring out the best in any player and I’m just happy to have experienced it and be able to play for this game,” Tolentino said.
“I really do think that good competitors bring out your best game so that’s probably why this is one of my strongest games,” she added.
And with her coming-out party on Saturday, expect Tolentino to be an integral part in Ateneo' drive to wrest the UAAP title it lost to rival La Salle last season.