Arvin Tolentino admitted that he deserved to be called for an unsportsmanlike foul after a hard hit on Zach Huang in the dying seconds of the FEU Tamaraw's 78-70 loss to the UST Growling Tigers on Sunday. However, the veteran forward questioned why the referees deemed it a disqualifying foul.
"I feel like it's unfair that the others are being called for unsportsmanlike fouls but when it's me, why do I get immediately disqualified?" he asked reporters post-match. "I admit that the hit was above the shoulder so it's really unsportsmanlike, but why did I get thrown out?"
This marks the second time this season that Tolentino was sent out of the court. He also got slapped with the same kind of foul last week after hitting Adamson's Sean Manganti in the face. This resulted in an automatic one-game suspension, causing him to miss the Tamaraws' win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles last Wednesday.
Upon his return to action, Tolentino registered 11 points and 11 rebounds against the Tigers but it all went for naught as it ended in a loss and another ejection.
Tolentino insisted that it was never his intention to hurt anybody as he offered his apologies to Huang and the UST community.
"I just want to apologize to the UST fans and Zach," he said. "I didn't have any intention. I was going for the ball then he bent, that's why he got hit. I'm 6'5" so I had a high reach. But I'm not giving excuses."
Given his back-to-back disqualifications, Tolentino acknowledged that his reputation might be at stake. Still, he's hoping that his character won't be defined by these recent incidents.
"You can't judge the person based on what happened because there are things that cannot be avoided or weren't intentional," he said. "For sure, some people will react especially those who watch the games only, those who don't play. Of course, they don't understand why it happens. That's fine, it's part of basketball."
"I hope they don't base a player's character on what happened," Tolentino went on. "There are a lot of basketball players who get that kind of reputation, whether in the NBA, PBA, or amateurs. I just hope outside of basketball, they think of us differently."
While he's worried of stiffer penalties due to a second infraction, Tolentino said he's ready to face the consequences of his actions. He just feels upset that he won't be around to help his teammates bounce back next game.
"It's difficult when your team plays and you cannot help," he rued. "It's hard to watch when you know that you are capable of helping your teammates but you can't do anything."