FEU's Arvin Tolentino channels Dirk Nowitzki in number change
MANILA, Philippines – Not much has changed with the FEU Tamaraws.
They are still a legitimate Final Four contender in the UAAP Season 81 chock-full of veterans like Axel Iñigo, Wendell Comboy, Prince Orizu and most notably, top scorer Arvin Tolentino.
They still proved that they are not to be taken lightly after downing the rebuilding, but still dangerous De La Salle Green Archers, 68-61, to open their season on a high note. (READ: FEU grinds out gutsy finish vs La Salle)
The one thing that changed, however, is Tolentino’s number, which went from 13 to 41.
Of course, the one player famous enough to be associated with the number 41 is Dallas Mavericks living legend Dirk Nowitzki. And when reporters brought it up, the Dirk-style, sweet-shooting big confirmed that Nowitzki is indeed his inspiration.
“Yeah, Dirk is my idol,” the 6-foot-5 shooter simply said with a smile.
And shoot like Dirk, he did. After getting only 2 points in the first half against the Archers’ towering defenders, Tolentino connected on 11 of his game-high 13 marks in the second half. This proved to be crucial down the stretch, as both teams struggled to score in the grinded-out contest.
But beyond the comparison in skills, Tolentino also hopes to emulate what Nowitzki has done in his career: Win a championship on the latter part of his career.
“Kasi noong 2011 [NBA Finals], yun yung only championship ni Dirk and parang gusto ko yun yung mangyari sa amin,” he explained. “Kasi eto nga, last year ko na. Ayun, sana sana.”
(In 2011, Dirk won his only championship then, and that’s also what I want for us, because I’m graduating. So there, I hope it happens.)
Given how the team-oriented Tamaraws are constructed right now, they might very well be a good challenger to the heavy title favorites Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Last season, they were even one possession away from the Finals before Isaac Go broke their hearts with his now-immortalized clutch shots.
This season, FEU has the tools to compete one more time as Tolentino’s curtain call. To quote another NBA player in Russell Westbrook, “Why not?” – Rappler.com