Arvin Tolentino (left) is carving his own niche away from his favorite team. —PBA IMAGES

Arvin Tolentino (left) is carving his own niche away from his favorite team. —PBA IMAGES

It didn’t take Arvin Tolentino too long to find his niche in his new team.

The two-time champion with Barangay Ginebra, averaged 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in NorthPort’s first two games in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, which the Batang Pier split.


“My mentality is that I was traded because coach Pido (Jarencio) and NorthPort wanted (my services),” he told reporters shortly after NorthPort’s 92-83 triumph over Phoenix Wednesday last week.

That mentality has served him well.


The stretch forward, who Ginebra shipped to NorthPort in a blockbuster exchange for the athletic Jamie Malonzo, was unanimously voted PBA Press Corps-Cignal Player of the Week.

“There’s no time to dwell over my time with Ginebra,” Tolentino said, admitting however, that there was a tinge of regret in parting ways with the team that he grew up idolizing.

“Until now, I’m still a fan of Ginebra. [My stint with the Kings] was the best years of my basketball career, playing for my favorite team and [for] millions of fans, under arguably the best coach in the Philippines ever. It’s a shame, but that’s life,” he said.

Tolentino also had quite the night in the gut-wrenching 105-104 loss to fancied guest team Bay Area Dragons over the weekend, putting up 22 points that went with 10 rebounds and three steals.

The 26-year-old ace out of Far Eastern University hopes to make the most out of his time at NorthPort by expanding his game.

“I don’t want to become a one-dimensional player who is only known [as a] catch-and-shoot [player],” he said. “My goal is to absorb everything [and grow my] IQ—my knowledge of the game.”

“It’s just right that I landed here at NorthPort,” Tolentino added.


New venues

Meanwhile, the PBA on Monday afternoon announced the relocation of seven playdates originally scheduled at the newly refurbished PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

The matches on Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, Nov. 4, Nov. 9 and Nov. 18 will now be staged at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. The Nov. 5 doubleheader, meanwhile, will be played at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The league also announced that its partner, East Asia Super League (EASL), has abandoned its plan to hold a home-and-away format for its inaugural season, citing the persisting COVID-19 situation across the region.

The EASL was originally set to unfurl on Oct. 12 with Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer and Anyang KGC battling in South Korea and all-Filipino bridesmaid TNT taking on Bay Area Dragons here.

A “Champions Week” will be instead held in Manila sometime early in 2023 and will not interrupt schedules of partner leagues. INQ

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