ANTIPOLO CITY — This time, it was Arvin Tolentino’s turn to grab the spotlight for NorthPort.
The Gilas Pilipinas cager had a breakout performance, finishing with a career-high 35 points, including five three-point shots, as the Batang Pier rolled to a 113-103 victory over Rain or Shine Sunday in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center.
Tolentino’s scoring spree came exactly a year after he torched the nets with 30 points in NorthPort’s 91-85 win over Terrafirma in the same conference at the same venue.
After making 12 points in the first quarter, Tolentino caught fire anew in the fourth frame by nailing the same number of points to shove NorthPort on top of the leaderboard with its second straight win alongside Meralco. Tolentino, who also hauled down nine rebounds and four steals, swears the site seems to bring him luck.
“Hopefully, we always hold our games here,” he said, adding that the presence of a loved one may have something to do with his explosion.
“First time my mom watched me play. She always had anxious moments every time I play. I must admit I’m a Mama’s Boy. But she was able to watch me now because we live nearby this area.”
Import Venkatesha Jois, who starred in Batang Pier’s debut game last Friday, was not far behind in terms of production.
Jois, the smallest import in the tournament measuring below 6-foot-5, made up for his lack of size with another aggressive performance.
Against the Elasto Painters, Jois posted monster numbers of 30 points and 21 rebounds.
The duo of Tolentino and Jois gave Rain or Shine a lot of trouble as the Batang Pier dominated all facets of the game and led by as much as 19 points, 80-61, late in the third.