MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo head coach Bo Perasol expects to see more from his rookies in future games for the Blue Eagles even as they showed flashes of potential in their first game of the season against Adamson.
Arvin Tolentino, Thirdy Ravena, Clint Doliguez, Jay Javelosa and John Apacible all saw playing time in Ateneo's 79-57 win, with Tolentino having the most impressive debut by scoring 12 points.
"Si Arvin, and all my other rookies, they can definitely be better than that," Perasol said after the game. "In the first game, Arvin was able to score, but I know that scoring-wise, there was no question how he can fare with that."
"But I know that the whole game through, he can be better. Madami siyang naging lapses, same with Thirdy, and also Clint, and also John Apacible," he added.
Tolentino, who had a shaky start but found his range in the second half, said he was happy with his performance and with the outcome of the game.
"Hindi ko pinipilit 'yung sarili ko na umiskor, basta matulungan ko lang 'yung team," said Tolentino, a standout from the San Beda Red Cubs.
"Sinabihan lang ako ni coach na keep shooting, sabi niya papasok din 'yan," he added when asked about his two early misfires. "Then chineer din ako ng teammates ko, and 'yun, nagtiwala lang din ako sa sarili ko."
"Sabi ko, mags-shoot din 'yun," said the young Tolentino, who let out a yell after hitting a triple in the second quarter that gave the Blue Eagles a 35-15 lead.
Ravena was scoreless in nearly five minutes of playing time, missing his only field goal and committing four fouls. Javelosa scored four points and grabbed two rebounds, while Apacible also scored four points and Doliguez had two markers.
Tolentino and the rest of the Ateneo rookies will face another huge test next week as their second game of the season is against the defending champions De La Salle.
"Excited na nga ako eh," said Tolentino. "Pero siyempre
may kaunting nerbyos kasi siyempre La Salle 'yun."
Perasol said he will definitely give his rookies a chance to prove themselves against the Green Archers.
"If I'm going to pull them out of the bench and they're going to deliver right away, then they're going to stay there," said Perasol. "That's our usapan naman."