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Friday, March 1, 2024

Tolentino turning into North Port’s main man

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North Port is slowly becoming an Arvin Tolentino team.

Without Robert Bolick and Arwind Santos, Tolentino has now taken the mantle of leadership for the Batang Pier, who are off to a fast start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The fourth-year wingman was in the forefront of Northport’s 2-0 record early in the season, including resetting his career-high in a 113-103 win over Rain or Shine on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Tolentino, 28, torched the Elasto Painters for a new career-best 35 points including 5-of-12 shooting from three-point range in leading the Batang Pier to the rousing win.

He capped his heroics with a one-handed slam dunk off Gabe Norwood to take the fight out of the rallying Elasto Painters.

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In two games, Tolentino, whose previous career-high was 31 points, averaged 25.5 points and shot 37.5 percent from three-point range in a performance that earned for him the season’s first PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honor for the period Nov. 8-12.

Ironically, Tolentino both set his PBA career-highs on the same date of Nov. 12 and on the same playing venue in Antipolo.

In Northport’s debut game against Terrafirma, the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart led the Batang Pier’s locals with 16 points in a 108-103 victory.

Two teams which are off to a similar 2-0 starts in Magnolia and Meralco also have players who were nominated for the weekly honor being handed out by the men and women covering the PBA beat.

Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge of the Bolts and Hotshots Paul Lee and Mark Barroca crowded out Tolentino for the Player of the Week plum.

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