Arvin Tolentino is making the most out of the extra time given him at Barangay Ginebra.
With the Kings plagued by injuries to key players, Tolentino stepped up on the plate and provided huge contributions in helping the defending PBA Governors Cup champion off to a 3-0 start in its title retention bid.
The sophomore big man posted back-to-back career highs in the team’s last two outings to emerge as the Cignal Play-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period Dec. 15-19.
Tolentino emerged as the top choice following a tight race that saw teammate Christian Standhardinger and Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva also in the running for the weekly honor handed out by the men and women regularly covering the PBA beat.
Getting additional playing time as injuries shut down Aljon Mariano, Joe Devance, Stanley Pringle, and Jared Dillinger, Tolentino initially warmed up by finishing with 16 points, including four three-pointers, in a 108-82 Ginebra rout of import-less NorthPort to establish a new PBA career high.
But the former Far Eastern University standout proved he’s truly up to the task when he set a new career record by hitting three from beyond the arc for 20 points as the reigning champion clawed its way back late in regulation to outlasts Phoenix in overtime, 125-121.
Tolentino hit the last of his three treys with 1:59 left in the extra period to give the Kings a 120-119 lead and the extra push they needed to finish off the Fuel Masters.
In the two career-games he recorded, Tolentino averaged 18 points on 7-of-20 shooting from downtown, and added 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 steals.
“That will help Arvin down the road, too, being able to play big minutes, meaningful minutes down the stretch, and it’s going to help his confidence,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone of the extra minutes earned by Tolentino.
“I think Arvin really opens it up for a lot of guys out there. And he just have to keep on shooting. Even if I’m yelling at him, he just have to keep on shooting.”