HE may have had a bit of misunderstanding with Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin in the past, but San Miguel star Arwind Santos declared himself available to the national team if given the opportunity to suit up for flag and country.
The recent PBA Philippine Cup Finals MVP said he always takes great pride in playing for the national team.
“Oo naman, bakit naman hindi,” the lanky forward shared to Spin.ph when asked if he’s willing to play under Baldwin at Gilas. “Alam naman ng mga tao na gusto kong maglaro para sa bansa natin.”
Baldwin and Santos had a little run-in in the endgame of Game Four of the all-Filipino semifinal playoff between San Miguel and Talk `N Text after the lanky Beerman executed a ‘garbage-time’ dunk in the match which San Miguel won, 100-87.
The American-New Zealander confronted Santos after the game as he felt the move was an 'insult' to the Tropang Texters organization, which was at the losing end of a 4-0 sweep in the best-of-seven series.
The 33-year-old Santos said he immediately apologized to the Gilas coach shortly after, adding he has long buried the hatchet and is ready to play for the national coach if his services will be needed.
“Isa yun sa mga goals ko (maglaro sa national team). Ibang mundo kasi 'yun. Iba yung pro, iba rin yung nire-represent mo ang Pilipinas sa international tournament. Para sa akin, malaking bagay yun,” said Santos, who buried the biggest shot in San Miguel's Game Seven win over Alaska, 80-78, in the Philippine Cup Finals.
Baldwin said he intends to watch and observe as many games as he can in the coming Commissioner’s Cup in order to select the players who will compose the Gilas Pilipinas pool from which the roster for the coming Fiba Asia Men’s Championship will be culled.
So far, Santos said he hasn’t heard anything from Baldwin and his coaching staff, neither from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), and the San Miguel organization.
“Wala pa. Walang pang balita maski from management namin kasi nga katatapos lang halos ng finals,” he said.
The 33-year-old Santos played under coach Yeng Guiao in 2009 when the Powerade-backed national squad made the quarterfinals of the Fiba Asia men’s tilt in Tianjin, China.