Brgy. Ginebra’s Arvin Tolentino has been nominated for the 2020 Outstanding Rookie award along with follow freshmen Aaron Black of Meralco, Barkley Eboña of Alaska, Aris Dionisio of Magnolia, and Roosevelt Adams of Terrafirma.
The 10th overall pick of the 2019 draft, who was named as the 2014 Rookie of the Year in the UAAP while playing for the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles, is ecstatic and considers the nomination already an honor in itself.
“I’m happy on being a candidate as outstanding rookie kasi you only get that chance once in your career,” said Tolentino during an interview with Spin.ph.
The league won’t call the award ‘Rookie of the Year’ for Season 45 since only one conference was played.
For the record, Greg Slaughter holds the distinction as the last Gin King to win the once-in-a-lifetime award with the 7-foot Fil-Am bagging it in 2013. Aside from the controversial big man, other players who won it while playing for the crowd darlings were Mark Caguioa (2001), Marlou Aquino (1996), Dondon Ampalayo (1986) and Willie Generalao (1980).
The 24-year old Tolentino left an imprint on Brgy. Ginebra’s 2020 Philippine Cup conquest over TNT after scoring on a crucial lay-up in Game 1 of the Finals which sent the game into overtime. The Gin Kings eventually won the match, 100-94, to set the tone for the series.
Already a champion after just a single conference, the nomination for the shortened season’s top freshman award is an icing on the cake for the hard-working Tolentino.
“Sobrang sarap sa feeling and hindi kapani-paniwala. First conference, first championship. Tapos I was able to contribute pa and help my team win,” he said.
“All the hard work and sacrifices paid off, hindi lang sa akin kundi ng buong team din. Being in the bubble made it even sweeter.”