MANILA, Philippines – Arvin Tolentino's scoring abilities has been in full display for the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament.
The Season 77 Rookie of the Year sat out last year as a residency requirement, after transferring from Ateneo de Manila University. Now that he can play in the UAAP again, however, Tolentino has reminded fans why he was such a highly recruited talent out of the San Beda High School program.
Scoring comes almost effortlessly for Tolentino, who hoists three-pointers with the same ease as he drives into the lane. So far in Season 80, he is averaging a team-high 13.4 points per game on 42.9% shooting, including a superb 40% mark from deep.
Against National University last Wednesday, Tolentino exploded for a career-high 23 points on 7-of-17 shooting, including a 3-of-8 clip from beyond the arc.
"Good game for us," Tolentino said after their 90-83 win. "We shared the ball, and marami kaming open looks dahil sa pag-share ng bola."
According to UAAP statistician Pong Ducanes, Tolentino has already scored a total of 67 points in just five games in Season 80 – exceeding his total of 66 points in 13 games in Season 78.
FEU coach Olsen Racela knows that offense will never be a problem for Tolentino.
"Alam naman natin kung ano ang ipo-provide ni Arvin offensively," he said.
Yet if the big man wants to keep on getting minutes for the Tamaraws, then he should rise to the challenge that Racela issued for him.
"Palagi kong sinasabi sa kanya – it's those intangibles ang hinahanap ko sa kanya. The more he plays defense, the more he rebounds – the more he boxes out and gets rebounds – then the more minutes he will get," Racela said.
The coach sees that so far, Tolentino is responding. The forward is currently averaging 6.2 rebounds per game, second in the team behind Nigerian center Prince Orizu (8.6 rebounds per game).
"The effort is there," said Racela of Tolentino. "He just has to be more consistent sa effort niya."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.