Brgy. Ginebra rookie Arvin Tolentino opened his PBA Finals debut on the wrong foot after being ‘posterized’ by TNT’s Bobby Ray Parks Jr. in the first quarter of the series opener last Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
The 25-year old forward out of Far Eastern University attempted to block a throwdown by Parks coming off a steal but came up way short.
Tolentino, however, remained unfazed and finished the match with 14 points including a layup off an LA Tenorio assist with just 4.5 ticks left on the game which knotted the score at 92 and eventually forced overtime.
His courage, which was very evident on the attempt to block Parks and on the willingness to take a last-second shot, was not lost on Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone.
“The thing I like about Arvin is that he is fearless. He is not afraid. He is not afraid of taking a shot. He is not afraid to drive to the basket. I get hard at him a lot as I’m trying to teach him what a good shot is and what a bad shot is. He is absolutely fearless. He is fearless of me. He is fearless of the game,” said Cone.
“He is multiple-skilled. He can guard different people. He is still working on his defense, his techniques, and things like that. Those areas of the game, I think he will get a lot better at. But he is the perfect guy right now for us playing Talk ‘N Text because of his versatility, his ability to go out and guard (Troy) Rosario, maybe switch on Castro, spread the defense out with three-point shots. He is quick up and down the floor and he is athletic,” he added.
After a remarkable performance in Game 1, Cone feels that the crowd darlings now have the edge in the series all because of one promising rookie.
“He came to us at the right time to play Talk ‘N Text. He is a difference-maker for us versus Talk ‘N Text.”