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Tolentino targets ‘Redeem Team’ spot

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA | ARVIN Tolentino hopes to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas squad that aims to reclaim the glory in the Southeast Asian Games.

After several tries, Arvin Tolentino now has a golden opportunity to be part of Gilas Pilipinas in the men’s basketball event of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

Tolentino said cracking the final roster will be a special moment for him as he wants to be part of the squad that will reclaim the country’s lost glory in the biennial meet.

Tolentino has been knocking on Gilas Pilipinas’ door as early as last year when it was still competing in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

‘But this is exciting and I really want to be a part of this group.’

Now, Tolentino has an opportunity as some of the key players like Scottie Thompson, Mikey Williams and Jamie Malonzo had already begged off from seeing action in the regional sportsfest that starts on 5 May and ends on 17 May.

“It’s a special team,” Tolentino told Daily Tribune in an interview.

“This is a great opportunity for me, especially after failing to win that gold medal last year. I’d like to be a part of that ‘Redeem Team.’ This is more exciting. There’s more pressure, the challenge is higher.”

Aside from Tolentino, also getting a good chance of making the final 12-man roster are Christian Standhardinger, Jeremiah Gray and Justin Brownlee of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Aaron Black and Chris Newsome of Meralco, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser of NLEX, Marcio Lassiter, CJ Perez and Chris Ross of San Miguel Beer, Calvin Oftana of TNT Tropang Giga, Michael and Ben Phillips of De La Salle University, Jerom Lastimosa of Adamson University and Mason Amos of Ateneo de Manila University.

The training camp inside the Inspire Academy in Laguna includes a busy daily routine where the national team aspirants undergo twice-a-day practice sessions with weights workout in between.

Tolentino likes the challenge of competing for a spot with the younger players.

“There’s no sure spot yet, no lineup yet for the team,” Tolentino said.

“But this is exciting and I really want to be a part of this group.”

Gilas Pilipinas leaves on 6 of May and will start competing on 9 May against Malaysia at 2 p.m.

The Philippines returns to battle on 11 May to face host Cambodia at 6 p.m. before colliding with Singapore on 13 May at 2 p.m.

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