The Far Eastern University Tamaraws have suffered blow after blow during the second round of the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament. On the court, they suffered four straight losses to begin the round while off of it, the Tamaraws have been marred by things beyond their control.
There was Prince Orizu’s high ankle injury that has sidelined him for five games already and then there was the two-game suspension of ace scorer Arvin Tolentino.
“A week ago, ten days ago, five (wins), two (losses) kami eh. A lot of things happened so it’s just unfortunate that nagsabay-sabay, Prince’s [Orizu] injury, Arvin’s suspension,” lamented second-year Tamaraws head coach Olsen Racela.
And in two of those four losses, the 6-foot-5 stretch big man would have been of great help.
“Mahirap din kasi alam ko na kaya kong tulungan yung teammates ko kaso wala akong magawa,” expressed the 22-year-old.
“So, ginawa ko lang nun inencourage ko yung teammates ko kahit hindi ako naglalaro nun. Nagdasal lang ako para sa kanila. Mabigat din yun para sa akin kasi malakas kalaban namin nun at wala pa si Prince,” he added.
“But past is past. Nandun na yun at wala na kong magagawa.”
Though his return saw the Tamaraws fall to the De La Salle Green Archers, 65-57, Tolentino still managed to put up 20 points.
In his second game back, he made sure to lift the Tamaraws, finishing with 18 points to lead FEU past neighbors UE Red Warriors to go back to the win column, 80-61.
It seems as though Tolentino, a product of San Beda High School, is making sure to atone for his past mishap. But for him, his performances has been a result of his team’s sense of urgency as they are now making a final push towards the Final Four.
“I’m just doing my best. Medyo malalim na kami sa standings,” said the UAAP Season 77 Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Year. “Crucial yung last two games namin kaya hindi lang naman ako nag-stestep up, lahat kami. After that four-game skid, we stayed positive pa rin namin.
“Good start sa amin itong UE game. Maganda yung nilaro namin at sana ma-carry yun sa remaining games namin.”
And he has vowed to FEU that he has learned his lesson.
“Kailangan ko mag-ingat palagi sa mga ginagawa ko.
“Ngayong season very strict sila with the calls. May mga things na hindi maiiwasan at I need to adjust. Hindi ko sinasabi na wala akong mali na ginagawa dahil mali rin yung nangyari,” shared Tolentino, who has already accumulated two disqualifying fouls this season.
Now more than ever, Tolentino can’t make anymore mistakes.
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