FEU’s Arvin Tolentino wants Mamba, Westbrook mentality
MANILA, Philippines – There’s no denying the talent that FEU Tamaraws veteran Arvin Tolentino has. After all, it’s not every day you see a big man in the UAAP who can bang inside, stretch the floor, create plays out of scratch, and pull down rebounds.
But there have been times where observers have pointed out that Tolentino has the habit of going through the motions instead of aggressively making his presence known in the game.
That’s something he wants to change entering Season 81.
“Sa laro, feeling ko kulang ako sa intensity. Yun yung kind of person ako – masayahin – but I think now yung Mamba mentality, Westbrook mentality, gusto ko i-apply ngayon,” Tolentino told Rappler.
(During games, I feel like I lack intensity. That’s the kind of person I am, happy, but I think now I want to apply the Mamba and Westbrook mentality.)
Mamba mentality, of course, is in reference to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, while Russell Westbrook is an NBA MVP. Both players are known for their intense and relentless approach to the game.
After spending the first two season of his career with Ateneo, Tolentino shifted to FEU and played his first season with the Tamaraws in 2017 after completing his mandated one-year residency for transferring.
Tolentino showed glimpses of eventually becoming a leading man for a team, but in order to get to that point, he first has to improve on his individual tendencies.
That’s exactly what he’s done.
“I worked on my conditioning. Trying really, really hard ngayon magpalakas nang katawan, and then feeling ko I have to change myself,” he said.
(I’m trying really hard to strengthen my body.)
Tolentino is part of a veteran-laden FEU team that’s expected to contend for a UAAP championship. With only two rookies in their roster, the Tamaraws have as good a chance as anyone – if not the best – to usurp Ateneo from the UAAP throne.
The Tams even pushed the Blue Eagles to the limit in last season’s Final Four by forcing a do-or-die match where they led late in the fourth period and came one stop away from making the finals.
Unfortunately for them, Ateneo pulled through in crunch time.
“Lahat naman kami nag e-expect kami na makapasok kami sa finals ngayon, kasi it’s been three years now nung last nag championship ang FEU and after nun, laging Final Four, laging semis, laging nasasayang yun,” said Tolentino.
(We’re all expecting to make the finals because it’s been three years since FEU last won a title. Since then, it’s just been the Final Four.)
He also shared that he’s willing to do whatever it takes for FEU to reach its goal, even if that means asking for the ball late in tight situations.
“Yung self-confidence naman, laging nasa akin. Hindi naman mawawala sa akin, diba? I can’t say naman na if kung crucial yung game, I have to get the ball every time. Depends pa rin sino maganda yung laro, kung sino maganda yung dinedeliver,” he said.
“Kung nangyari yun na ako yung ganon, I feel like makakapag deliver din ako. I’m going to do my best.”
(I always have self-confidence. That won’t go away, right? I can’t say that if the game is crucial, I have to get the ball every time. It depends who’s playing well, who’s delivering. If it happens to be me, I feel like I’ll be able to deliver.)
That thought should have FEU fans excited for what’s to come over the next few months.
The Tamaraws open their Season 81 campaign against La Salle on Sunday, September 9. – Rappler.com