Arvin Tolentino is up for the challenge of playing more consistently at a high level and taking on a leadership role for NorthPort, filling the spot left by former Batang Pier ace player Robert Bolick, who signed with Fukushima in the B.League.
The former FEU Tamaraw exploded for a tournament-high 41 points, shooting 7-of-11 from three-point territory in 28 minutes during NorthPort’s recent game against Blackwater, surpassing his previous high of 28 points in their win against Terrafirma last Sunday.
NorthPort Batang Pier head coach Bonnie Tan emphasized that Tolentino needs to demonstrate consistency if he wants to assume the leadership position on the team.
“He wants to prove something, ‘yong challenge na sinabi ko sa kanya, maging consistent lang so at least nalampasan pa niya yata ‘yong average niya ngayon,” said Tan.
“We need a leader and he wants to take that slot as a leader so sabi ko, ‘You have to perform every game consistently.'”
Tolentino acknowledged feeling the pressure of filling Bolick’s role but also expressed his enjoyment of it, as it provides him with more motivation to perform in every game.
“Flattered pero syempre Robert Bolick yon eh, mahirap naman pantayan talaga yon… of course, it’s a challenge for me, a little bit of pressure but it’s a big responsibility also and I like those things mga challenge talaga eh… mas masarap maglaro pag may ganon,” said Tolentino.
“I’m glad na maganda naman yung nilalaro ko. It’s also because of my hardwork sa practice, extra work sa shooting, so ayon rumeresulta naman dito,” he added.
The 27-year-old forward currently ranks as the third-leading scorer in the preseason, averaging 22.3 points per game.
With his outstanding performances, fans have called for Tolentino to be included in the expanded pool of Gilas.
If he receives the call, the gold medalist from the 32nd Southeast Asian Games is ready to answer.
“Naghihintay lang din naman ako. If matawag, I’ll be there. If hindi, it’s fine. I’m sure those players are giving their best for the country,” he said.
“I’m still full support with them, matawag man or hindi.”
(Jose Gabriel Ignacio)