ARWIND Santos said he is ready to make the necessary adjustments to fit into any role that national coach Yeng Guiao may have in mind for him for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup 2019 Qualifiers.
Right on the first day of practice for the 20-man pool of Team Pilipinas on Monday night, Guiao revealed that he plans to convert Santos and Troy Rosario from power forwards into small forwards.
Guiao wants a tall match-up against Iran star Samad Nikkhah Bahrami in their home match on December 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
"Actually, the reason I took them [Santos and Rosario] in is to convert them into a big three. Kung Iran makakalaban natin, these are Bahrami stoppers,” Guiao, referring to Iran top scorer Samad Nikkhah Bahrami.
“Instead of just having Gabe (Norwood) as our matchup for Bahrami, meron tayong tatlong players who can be three deep there.”
Rosario will be available for selection for the Dec. 3 game against Iran as the TNT forward’s suspension will be over after the match against Kazakhstan on November 30, also at the MOA Arena.
Guiao said he and Santos will likely vie for one spot in the team.
“Of course baka pagdating ng Iran game we might just have to choose just one between the two of them,” Guiao said.
Santos said he sees no problem playing the 3 position, which reminds him of his early years in the PBA playing for Air21 under Guiao and for the Guiao's Powerade Pilipinas side in the Fiba Asia Championship nine years ago.
“Sa akin naman okay yun. Hindi naman bago sa akin 'yun kasi nung nagsama kami ni Coach Yeng tsaka nung naging coach ko siya sa PBA, three niya talaga ako nilagay, bihira lang ako mag-kuwatro. Sa akin di na bago yun,” Santos said.
“Pagka ginawa niya akong position na ganun, alam niya kung saan ako magiging effective. 'Yun ang maganda kay coach Yeng.”
The 6-foot-4 forward was thrilled to reunite with Guiao for the first time in nine years.
“Ako, mataas ang respeto ko sa kanya and marami akong dahilan para ibigay yung best ko everytime may practice, may game kami,” Santos said. “Hindi lang para sa bayan, para sa pamilya ko, sa lahat ng fans ng Arwind Santos.”
Santos is relishing the opportnity to prove that he can still cut it in the international stage at age 37.
“Di kasi ako nag-eexpect na maging part, di ba, pero kapag naging part ka, ibig sabihin meron kang kakayahan, pwede kang makatulong. So alagaan natin yun. Ako yung part na pagka pinili mo, papakita ko, ibibigay ko yung best ko.”