Down 0-3, Santos says SMB didn’t see a Game 7 coming
Arwind Santos will be the first to admit that no one from the San Miguel Beermen, who had fallen three games to none, expected the 2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup Finals series to go the distance.
“Di namin akalain. Nung una sa 0-3, maka-isa lang, okay na kami. Nagulat kami,” he said.
But after San Miguel’s 100-89 victory over Alaska on Friday night to force a Game 7, Santos and the rest of the Beermen want nothing but to complete their historic comeback.
“Masaya ang bawat isa sa mga teammates ko,” Santos said. “Yun ang nakakatakot, pag nage-enjoy ang mga players, mahirap kalaban. Noong 0-3, parang ang hinga namin, tama lang. Nung nanalo nung una, pangalawa, pangatlo, nakakahinga na kami ng maluwag.”
“Ngayon, mas kumportable kami, pero di namin masabi na kayang kaya namin sila. Gaya nga ng sinasabi namin lagi, lahat ng team na makakalaban namin kailangang respetuhin, lalo na ngayon na Game 7. Kung ano pang naitatago sa baul, ilalabas na namin.”
Personally, it has also been a redemption of sorts for the 2013 PBA MVP, who had been criticized for his lackluster showing in the first three losses.
“He’s a marked man. (Alaska) doesn’t want Arwind to be open in the perimeter. Of course, at the time, we don’t have June Mar (Fajardo) and he’s struggling. But with June Mar now, it poses a lot of problems for them and it has really helped our team, especially Arwind,” said SMB head coach Leo Austria.
For his part, Santos also said that the biggest change was the Beermen’s mindset in the clutch.
“Yung talent, nandyan pero minsan, natatalo ang talento ng matalino. May times kami na crucial turnover, in the end, konti na lang, di pa sinagad, dun kami natalo,” he said.
But all of that is in the past now, and Santos just wants to continue the roll his team is having for San Miguel to defend its Philippine Cup title.
“Sabi ni Chris Ross, ang nagdadala sa samahan namin is yung puso at trust sa bawat isa” he said. “Kaya siguro ngayon, nasa pintuan na kami. Kakatok na lang kami ng maayos para makapasok.”
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