UAAP: Arvin Tolentino was not going to let FEU lose by his hands again
Danine Cruz on Nov 21, 2018 08:42 PM
"At least now na shoot ko or natira ko actually." -- Arvin Tolentino
Arvin Tolentino came painfully close to bringing the Far Eastern University to the Finals back in UAAP Season 80.
After Ateneo Blue Eagle Isaac Go drilled a triple to tie the match at 75-all, the Tamaraws still had 8.5 ticks left to put up a shot and win it all.
Tolentino had the game in his hands. With Go guarding him, he drove near the paint but ended up turning the ball over and wasn't even able to put up a shot.
The game went to overtime and Ateneo ultimately secured the victory and barged into the Finals, while FEU settled with a heartbreaking finish.
It was this very embarrassing sequence that fueled Tolentino's Season 81 Final Four-clinching shot, Wednesday afternoon.
Against De La Salle University, Tolentino had the game in his hands again. But this time, he made sure that whatever happened last year didn't happen again.
He drilled a triple at the top of the key to lift FEU ahead by one point to ultimately their ticket back into the Final Four.
"To be honest, naisip ko talaga last year we had the chance para makapasok sa Finals. We blew it. ‘Yung nasayang na opportunity noon, ‘yung last shot namin, it still haunts me. ‘Yun din naisip ko kanina, sabi ko never again. Nung nakuha ko ‘yung bola, nag-zoom in na lahat," said Tolentino who is playing his final year for the Tamaraws, "At least now na shoot ko or natira ko actually."
When Tolentino talked about the shot after the game, he pointed out one big difference from Season 80 and Season 81. Last year, it was him who tried creating the shot, but this year he trusted a teammate, someone better in playmaking, to do it for the whole team and it paid major dividends.
"Last year, we were gonna give it to JR [Parker] and na-deny. Tapos nag flash ako nun sa middle diba, eh wala. So [this year] sabi ko I'm not gonna create my own shot again," Tolentino narrated.
"Pumunta ako kay JR [Parker] ngayon and let him create our shot, andun yung trust [dahil alam ko] mas capable si JR to create a shot kaysa sa akin eh, ako tira lang ng tira. So ayun," he added, "Si JR kasi ‘yung best creator namin."
Tolentino has gone through a lot in his young basketball career. From being a San Beda Red Cubs standout to having a short-lived Ateneo career, Tolentino has found his home in FEU and he just wants to pay everything forward to the community that has embraced him as their own.
"I’ve been working hard since I got to FEU. I changed myself. My coaches changed me. I just want to give everything para sa FEU. It could’ve been our last game. Iniisip ko lang kanina na ‘di ko sasayangin lahat ng sacrifices ko, especially ng teammates ko," Tolentino said as he held back tears.
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