ARWIND Santos is more determined to play for Team Pilipinas again after the heartbreaking loss to Iran in the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Santos donned the national colors once more, his first since 2009, as the Filipinos hosted the Iranians on Monday at MOA Arena.
The San Miguel cager played for four minutes and scored on a short jumper in the second quarter. He admitted wanting to play some more, but respects coach Yeng Guiao’s decision.
“Ginanahan na ako nun. Lahat naman ng players kapag nakaka-shoot, ginaganahan. Nag-expect ako na makakabalik ako kahit saglit nung third at fourth quarter. Parang sanay ako sa ganun. Hindi ko sinasabi na hindi tayo makakatulong pero kahit papaano, defense at, kahit papaano, sa offense kapag crucial shots. Gusto ko rin ‘yun. Pero si coach Yeng ‘yun. Mataas ang respeto natin,” said Santos.
“Kaming mga players nandito, lalo na ako, isa sa mga natutuwa dahil nakabalik ako at gusto ko makatulong sa team,” Santos said.
Santos watched in horror after Team Pilipinas was unable to protect a one-point lead with one minute left in the fourth quarter. The loss dropped the Philippines to fourth place in Group F with a 5-5 mark, with the squad entering a must-win situation in the next window on the road in February against Kazakhstan and Qatar.
The loss only fueled the fire in Santos to represent the country once more as he expressed his willingness to play for Team Pilipinas once more in hopes of atoning from the 0-2 sweep at home in this just-concluded fifth World Cup qualifier window.
“Lahat naman tayo, ayaw natin mangyari na dumaan tayo sa alanganin. Kung hindi para sa atin, hindi para sa atin,” said Santos.
“Ako talagang bukas ang pinto ko. Ibang level kasi ‘yan. Gusto ko bumawi. Gusto ko maiwan ko naman ‘yung team natin, Team Pilipinas ng panalo. Hindi ‘yung talo,” he added.