Haunted by last year’s botched shot vs Ateneo, Arvin Tolentino makes up for it big time
It was exactly 364 days ago when Arvin Tolentino missed his chance to become one of the many heroes who has worn Far Eastern University’s colors.
Last year, Tolentino botched what could’ve been the game-winner in the Tamaraws’ do-or-die match against Ateneo in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball Final Four. The Blue Eagles, who went on to win the title, won 88-84 in overtime.
That haunting memory lingered in Tolentino’s mind but the sweet-shooting forward was able to exorcize his demons with his team back on the brink of elimination.
Tolentino nailed the game-winning three-pointer to send Tamaraws to the Final Four after with a 71-70 win over De La Salle in the fourth place playoff Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I remembered what happened last year, and last year we had a chance to go to the finals,” said Tolentino in Filipino. “That wasted opportunity, that last shot, it still haunts me and that’s what I was thinking about earlier and I told myself ‘never again.’”
And Tolentino made good on his promise when his soul-crushing three-pointer with 3.1 seconds left was like a blazing spear that struck the collective hearts of the Green Archers.
What made the blow even harder for De La Salle was FEU were able to go on a 7-2 run that started with just 1:28 to play.
Whether it was fate or just sheer coincidence, Tolentino found himself with a crazy amount of daylight after La Salle’s defense collapsed to the paint in an attempt to trap Barkley Eboña, who rolled to the basket after giving a pick for Jasper Parker to go through.
Justine Baltazar tried to scramble and challenge Tolentino’s shot but the distance between the two big men was just too much and FEU’s star forward was able to knock down, arguably, the biggest shot of his collegiate career.
“I just want to give everything to FEU and this could’ve been our last game and I was just thinking that I won’t waste this opportunity and I won’t waste the sacrifices of my teammates,” said Tolentino who finished with 15 points, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.
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