UAAP: FEU’s Arvin Tolentino has not forgotten that Ateneo loss
Alvin Laqui on Sep 04, 2018 04:14 PM
UAAP Season 81 will be a year of redemption for Arvin Tolentino - or so he hopes
Far Eastern University has made it to the Final Four in the past two seasons since winning the UAAP title in 2015.
Last year, the Tamaraws came painfully close to making a Finals return.
After forcing number one seed Ateneo to a do-or-die Game 2 in the semifinals, FEU had possession in the rubber match with two minutes to go, and the score tied at 80.
FEU went to Arvin Tolentino, a sharp-shooting forward who just happened to play for Ateneo before uprooting for Morayta. He darted straight at the Blue Eagles’ defense before Gian Mamuyac got his hand in his pocket, forcing the turnover.
Matt Nieto then scored five straight points off jumpers, both over the defense of Tolentino himself, to ultimately put the game away, keeping FEU off the championship round.
That same sequence is still embedded in Tolentino’s mind.
“Minsan, naiisip ko rin. Minsan parang binabalik-balikan ko rin kasi ang laking sayang talaga,” he said of the final two minutes at four seconds that would have given FEU a chance at the title against modern rival La Salle.
However, a few bad possessions won’t stray Tolentino and FEU from their ultimate goal. “For me hindi yun (last year’s Final Four exit) yung reason sa redemption. Siguro lagi kong iniisip gusto kong mag-champion,” he said. “So hindi ko iniisip na muntik, na one mistake, two mistakes lang. Iniisip ko lang na dapat ngayon, mag-champion kami. Kami naman siguro, sana.”
Instead, Tolentino will use that same heartbreak as motivation of sorts for the upcoming UAAP Season 81. “Dahil nga one stop away, one basket away from the championship… tina-try naming maging better this year than last year,” he said.
With experience comes expectations however, and that much is true for the Tamaraws, especially with an intact lineup made up of battle-hardened veterans who are looking to channel their collective experiences from last year, and hopefully translate them into wins.
“Lagi kaming Final Four, laging sayang. With me, last year, sayang. And then the year before that, sila, sayang din,” Tolentino recounted. “Ngayon, as one of the most veteran teams, kailangan magamit namin yung experience namin para maitawid yung team sa championship and hopefully maging champion kami.”
Tolentino is also willing to take his leadership to another level. He is, after all playing in his fourth season in the UAAP. “Alam ko na kung anong meron sa UAAP or kung anong meron sa college basketball. Yun yung pwede kong i-share sa mga younger teammates ko,” he said.
For Arvin Tolentino and the rest of the Tamaraws, there’s been enough pain from the past two seasons that can only be mended by winning a title.
“Ang goal ko lang naman talaga is to win the championship,” Tolentino bared. “Honestly I don’t care yung mga individual stuff. Siguro more on leading the team to the championship, yun yung main goal ko talaga ngayon.”
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