Judging by his high school pedigree and a freshman campaign that saw him bag the Rookie of the Year plum, Arvin Tolentino is supposed to be one of the UAAP’s biggest stars right now.
But the former Ateneo forward is now with FEU, serving his residency after getting the boot from the Katipunan side due to academic problems.
“Actually, it’s kinda hard for me kasi I should be playing in the UAAP right now,” he told FOX Sports in an exclusive interview. “But I accept reality and move on. Anyway, I still have 2 years pa naman. Yun lang iniisip ko, kailangan ko makabawi next season and hopefully, we can be champions again.”
Tolentino had a solid start to his collegiate career, but found himself riding the bench late in his first and throughout his sophomore season.
After averaging 22.5 minutes in his rookie campaign, the former San Beda juniors star slumped to just 10.7 minutes in Season 2 and averaged 5.1 points and 2.1 boards.
He hit rock-bottom this offseason, when he failed to reach Ateneo’s required grade average and was forced to look for a school to transfer to.
Fortunately for the offensive-minded big man, he found a landing spot at FEU, which won the UAAP Season 78 championship and is known to develop well-rounded big men like Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.
Now serving the mandated residency, Tolentino is supporting the Tamaraws’ bid to repeat, albeit from the sidelines.
“Medyo namimiss ko yung UAAP, yung competition. But siguro at the same time nae-ease yung lungkot ko dahil meron namang mga ibang nilalaruan gaya ng Got Skills and Father Martin,” he said. “Iniisip ko 3 months lang naman UAAP e. After that, hopefully makasali na ko sa Team A and sa mga liga nila na lalaruan.”
Tolentino will only have 2 playing years left once he gets back in action in Season 80 and assured he will contribute right away whatever role head coach Nash Racela will give him in the future.
“Depende kila coach what role I’m gonna play next year, basta siguro one thing na maa-assure ko, floor spacing. I can shoot from the outside,” he said. “Di naman talaga ko naglaro ng matagal sa Ateneo kumbaga limited minutes lang, hopefully makabawi ako next season.” — By John Chester Fajardo