ARWIND Santos was more than delighted to see Far Eastern University respond to his pep talk before the start of the UAAP Season 80 semifinals with a big 80-67 win over top-seed Ateneo to forge a deciding game for a finals berth.
With the PBA in the offseason, Santos was on hand to witness the Tamaraws outplay the Blue Eagles on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum. And with what he saw, the former King Tamaraw sees the current team going through to meet La Salle if the young FEU team continues to play together
“Masarap pagka-nanalo. Ngayon, nanalo, mas masarap pag manalo kami sa Wednesday. Dumaan sila sa twice-to-beat na kalaban, alam naman natin na mas masarap talunin yung mga ganun. Hindi naman imposible yun basta tumibay yung trust nila sa isa't isa. Basta enjoy nila yung laro at huwag lang sila maging selfish,” he said.
“Tutal free time naman ako ngayon so naisip ko na ibigay sa kanila yung oras ko. Dito ako umusbong. Ako naman lagi kong bibigay yung oras ko para sa FEU,” he added.
Amid the lack of noticeable stars in the current lineup compared to stellar Tams teams of the past, Santos had always believed the team was good enough to reach the Final Four. With their performance on Sunday, the former UAAP MVP is confident they can go all the way.
“Nakakatuwa kasi yung mga players natin ngayon sa FEU. Walang go-to guy, walang superstar. Nung una, tinitignan ko yung line-up nila nung start ng season, sabi ko, 'puwede tong mag semifinals.' Ngayon, nakapasok na, puwede pang maka-finals,” he said.
The former PBA MVP also had high praises for Arvin Tolentino and Barkley Ebona. Though he said he hasn’t seen someone who can replicate his career with FEU, he believes that the two forwards are pretty close.
“So far, wala pa talaga. Siguro si Tolentino malapit na. Tapos si Ebona siguro nung bata bata pa ko,” Santos continued.
“Sabi ko sa kanya (Tolentino), huwag siyang papabagsak pag binangga. Kailangan niyang tibayan yung lower body niya. Mga basic lang naman. Mahalaga kasi yung basics mas lalo na sa mga larong ganito.”