ARWIND Santos is grateful for his return to the national team after Team Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao picked him to be part of the 12-man roster for the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers against Kazakhstan on Monday.
Santos made his comeback to the national team after nine years. The last time Santos suited up for the national team was in 2009 when the Powerade Team Pilipinas squad was mentored by no less than Guiao.
“Nakakatuwa naman na kahit papaano, nakabalik ako,” said Santos after Team Pilipinas’ practice on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. “Thank God ako doon. Siguro, at least, nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon na makapagsilbi sa bansa.”
Santos added: “Bukas sa game natin, excited ako. Sana ‘yung pagiging excited ko, makatulong sa team natin.”
The 37-year-old Santos said his return to the national team has been much-awaited by his family and friends.
“Kahit papaano, na-miss ko rin maglaro sa national team. Buti nakabalik din. Mga anak ko, mga kamag-anak ko, nagtataka rin bakit wala ako sa national team. At least, nakabalik ako. Sana maganda mapakita ko para sa bansa natin,” said Santos.
Don’t expect Santos though to look for his shots in the game against Iran as Guiao has been emphasizing that the San Miguel cager will be more of a stopper to the likes of Iran’s Samad Nikkhah Bahrami.
“Kumbaga kahat naman ng natutunan ko mula nung nag-umpisa ako maglaro on defense, siyempre gusto mo ibigay lahat. Kahit papaano, kahit hindi maka-score, sabi nga ni coach Yeng, bonus na lang kung makaka-score. Importante, mahinto natin ‘yung mga scorer nila. ‘Yun ang dahilan ni coach Yeng kung bakit ako nakuha,” Santos said.
Santos though said he will definitely try to do his Spiderman dunk, even though that attempt could lead to a technical foul under Fiba rules.
That is if the Philippines leads by a wide margin over Iran.
“Pagka-lamang ng malaki, sisipain ko ‘yung board. Para kahit ma-technical tayo, panalo pa rin tayo. Depende sa sitwayson,” said Santos with a smile.