Long ago, Arvin Tolentino was just a young fan cheering for the most popular professional basketball team in the country.
Years later, donning the Barangay Ginebra jersey, he was the one being cheered on in perhaps the best game of his young PBA career.
Tolentino capped off his career night with a go-ahead three pointer in overtime as Ginebra held off a gallant Phoenix Fuel Masters’ stand with a 125-121 squeaker in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Tolentino poured 20 points including a clutch trey that gave Ginebra a 120-119 lead in the final two minutes of the extra period on their way to a 3-0 start in the season-ending conference.
The former FEU Tamaraw also scored a combined nine points in the fourth quarter and overtime and added three boards and three dimes in his second successive start for Ginebra in place of injured star Stanley Pringle.
A Ginebra fan growing up, Tolentino is still in awe of his performance and the team’s memorable win in front of a roaring crowd inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Actually, goosebumps nga ako paglabas (sa dugout). Parang nag flash back sa akin, parang naging bata ulit ako, e,” admitted Tolentino on the overwhelming chants of the crowd on Sunday night.
“Simula bata pa lang ako, talaga pinapanood ko na yung Ginebra. Talagang Ginebra fan ako, kami ng family ko,” he admitted. “Lahat buong barangay namin yata. And then ngayon, paglabas ko, tsini-cheer na nila ako, so ang sarap sa pakiramdam. Nakakakilabot talaga.”
Tolentino even admitted that upon hitting that crucial trey that gave Ginebra the lead, he almost turns back into being a fan for a split second before realizing he was a player now.
Grabe yun. Parang gusto ko nga ring mag-cheer,” he said, with a laughter. “Kasi as a fan, nung na-shoot ko yung parang gusto ko ring i-cheer yung sarili ko.”