Santos finds a way to shine for San Miguel
Arwind Santos knows a thing or two about sacrificing personal success for that of the team’s.
The 2013 PBA MVP has seen his numbers dip in the past conferences, culminating with an exit from the top 10 of the statistical points race for the Best Player of the Conference this PBA Governors’ Cup.
Though his numbers are not as gaudy as they were before, Santos knows that his sacrifices as the leader for San Miguel is for the betterment of the team as a whole.
“With the responsibility vested in me, I know the things which would help the team. I know that what I’m doing is helping the team and even though my stats isn’t that good, I know that I don’t have to prove myself anymore. All I have to do is to be consistent while I’m still playing,” he said.
And that leadership was tested on Thursday when San Miguel opened its best-of-5 semifinals series against Rain or Shine.
Falling behind by 24, the Beermen had to claw their way back to the game. And in the second half, it was veterans Santos and Alex Cabagnot who captained the rally en route to a 101-95 win over the E-Painters.
“Coach told us to fix our defense. (Rain or Shine) has players who can get themselves going from threes or get it going from the paint, just like their import did,” he said. “The good thing is we controlled the tempo in the second quarter after we went down big. We were able to stop them, our defense worked and eventually, we got the lead.”
For the most part, Santos was just there to pick his spots and not force his shots, putting the team in front of his personal statistics.
But when his team needed him to step up, Santos delivered.
Santos racked up all of his 13 points in the last two quarters and paired it up with 12 rebounds and two blocks in the win which gave San Miguel a 1-0 series lead.
“I’m the type of player who knows that if my offense isn’t going well, I’m atoning for it on defense. When the second half came, I thought that I needed to help, that whenever there are open shots, I should have that confidence to shoot,” he said.
And he’s keeping the lessons of Game 1 in mind as San Miguel braces for a tougher Rain or Shine squad in Game 2 on Saturday,
“Knowing Rain or Shine, we know they’re going to make a comeback and be more physical,” said Santos. “We should be more ready because we have the momentum. It’s up to us on how we’re going to react to them and win Game 2.” CFC
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