Arvin Tolentino embraces veteran role for Northport in win vs San Miguel
MANILA, Philippines—Northport couldn’t rely on import Venky Jois in its 2023 PBA Commissioner’s Cup bout against San Miguel due to a tight left hamstring.
Thankfully for the Batang Pier, they had the luxury of turning to Arvin Tolentino, who’s slowly commanding the role of team veteran.
As one of the veterans of the squad, Tolentino played vocal leader to fuel Northport over the Beermen, 115-101, at Philsports Arena on Friday.
“I told the guys, ‘we don’t have Venky so everybody has to be the best player, everybody has to step up and play our game. Don’t think much about things and do our game plan, let’s follow the coaches and be confident. Good thing we got lucky,” said Tolentino in Filipino.
“I try to encourage them every time, especially the rookies they’re having second thoughts so I always tell them, just have confidence. If you have a shot, take it, they’ve been basketball players since they were kids so they know. I advise them to shoot their shots but most especially, to defend.”
The emerging forward was active on all ends of the court with a game-high 28 points to go along with five rebounds, five steals and two assists.
Tolentino also flaunted his shooting efficiency with a 58 percent field goal shooting clip while sinking three triples for good measure.
But apart from Tolentino, coach Bonnie Tan also said he challenges his squad, which has a significant amount of young guns in its arsenal, to step up.
“We’re just challenging our players. They practice every day and my challenge for them [this week] is to get two out of three. We got two and we have momentum now so hopefully we get our third win against Meralco,” said the top mentor.
Batang Pier will once again rely on Tolentino to try and get their third victory this week when they face the Bolts on Sunday.
Fortunately for the Gilas Pilipinas alum, Tan assured that he would have help in the paint again in the form of a returning Jois.
“With Venky, based on our last conversation, he said if he rested today’s game then he’d be a hundred percent on Sunday. He promised that. There’s just tightness on his left hamstring but he said he’s okay and he said he knows his body very well.”