Despite having only a few practices under his belt with the new Gilas Pilipinas, Arvin Tolentino feels at home.
Of course, he will be playing under his former coach in the PBA, Tim Cone, and with it comes the familiarity of the national team’s preparations for the upcoming Asian Games.
The 6-foot-5 sweet-shooting winger was drafted by Barangay in the 2019 PBA Draft and won two championships with the crowd favorites before being traded to Northport in September 2022.
“Masaya na nagkaroon ulit ako ng chance na irepresent ang country with the system na comfortable ako, alam ko na eh,” said Tolentino after Gilas’ 86-81 win over KBL team Changwon LG on Friday.
“Not 100 percent naman, may mga kulang pa pero playing under Coach Tim again feels great.”
Tolentino was outstanding during his 12 minutes on the floor, scoring nine points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, while also grabbing five rebounds and recording two assists and two steals.
“Nung first (medyo nad-adjust) yun nga ilang days pa lang kami nag practice pero good thing I have some familiarity with Coach Tim’s system — actually familiar,” shared Tolentino.
“Also my ex-teammates yung Ginebra teammates ko before, yung adjustment, yung transition medyo smooth lang.”
Tolentino was part of the Gilas “Redeem Team” in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, regaining the gold medal after losing it to Indonesia in the previous edition.
As a replacement for Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Mo Tautuaa, and Jason Perkins, Tolentino said that they will be in their thoughts if he, along with Chris Ross, CJ Perez, and Kevin Alas, make it to the final lineup.
“Me personally I feel bad for them kasi they’ve been preparing and nagsacrifice na rin sila for our country, ang dami na nilang practice. Kaya medyo hindi ko alam nung sinabihan kami ni Coach Tim kung matutuwa ako. Of course, sa sarili ko masaya ako but I also feel bad for those guys,” said Tolentino. “Nilagay ko lang sa isip ko na para sa kanila rin ito, kami nga yung pinalit na deserved din namin and for them kasi mahirap yung spot na pinalitan namin.
“Hopefully, mapasaya namin sila those guys and of course the whole country.”