Ateneo commit Katherine Cortez eager to help Blue Eagles return to Final Four
MANILA, Philippines — Bacolod Tay Tung High School setter Katherine Cortez is determined to help Ateneo return to the Final Four when she joins the Blue Eagles for the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament next year.
After the decision of go-to-spiker of Faith Nisperos to turn pro, Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro was able to recruit a promising playmaker in Cortez, who bared that she already passed the Ateneo College Entrance Test and seeking to take a Business Management course.
The graduating Grade 12 student-athlete, who already met Ateneo holdovers AC Miner and Lyann De Guzman, admitted that she feels the pressure of trying to help the Blue Eagles rise from the ashes as they missed the Final Four for the first time in 14 years after winning only four of their 14 games.
But Cortez won’t let the pressure stop her from helping the team when she plays next season.
“Tutulungan ko ang mga Ate na makabalik sa Final Four,” said Cortez after helping Bacolod Tay Tung win the bronze medal in the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational League on Saturday at San Andres Gym.
“Excited na po ako na kinakabahan kasi napi-pressure po ako na pumunta ng college. Pero hindi ko na lang po iniisip na ganoon kasi baka hindi lumabas ang aking skills. Basta gagawin ko lang ang best ko at ipakita sa kanila kung ano kaya kong gawin,” she added.
(I will help my Ates in bringing back Ateneo to the Final Four. I’m excited but at the same time nervous about going to college. But I’m not letting the pressure get the better of me because it might hinder my skills. I will just do my best and show what I got.)
Interestingly, the 18-year-old Cortez said she looks up to former Ateneo star setter Jia De Guzman but she wants to make her own mark.
The 5-foot-5 setter is seeking to bring all her learning from the GVIL and hoping to improve her blocking.
“One thing I learned from this league is improving my character so I will bring that with me going to Ateneo so I can help my ates even I am still young,” Cortez said in Filipino. “I have to improve my blocking because we all know that there are a lot of tall spikers here in Manila.”
Cortez is also looking forward to facing former elementary teammate and fellow Bacolod native Angel Canino, who emerged as the UAAP’s second rookie MVP after leading La Salle to the championship.
Cortez has gone home to Bacolod as she prepares for her last hurrah with the Thunderbolts in the Palarong Pambansa representing the Western Visayas before moving forward to the next chapter of her volleyball career with Ateneo.