WITH San Miguel Beet formally out of the running in the PBA Governors Cup, Arwind Santos now turns his focus to training with the Team Pilipinas pool for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
Santos was among the new faces named by coach Yeng Guiao as part of his 20-man pool on Tuesday along with fellow veteran LA Tenorio as well as youngsters Ricci Rivero and Kai Sotto.
The lanky San Miguel forward considers his inclusion to the national team pool a 'new challenge' for him.
"Para sa akin, panibagong challenge ito dahil ang tagal ko ring di nakapaglaro sa Philippine team," said Santos on Wednesday night after the Beermen's season came to an end following a 96-85 loss to the Alaska Aces in the quarterfinals.
"Sakto naman kahit papaano, nagpapahinga na kami. Makakapag-focus naman ako (para) sa Pilipinas."
It will be the first national team stint for Santos since playing for the Powerade-Philippine team in the FIBA Asia Championships in China, also handled by Guiao.
The former league MVP expressed his profuse gratitude to his 'Ninong Yeng' for the complete trust.
"Andito na nga ako kaya salamat kay coach Yeng. Sana hindi siya magkamali sa pagpili sa akin."
Santos said he'll try to do his best to make the final lineup of the pool whose members he said are all deserving. He promised to attend the team's first practice with Guiao by Monday.
"Wala naman na kaming gagawin pa e, laglag na kami," he said with chuckle. "So doon na muna tayo mag-concentrate. Sana malaki ang maitulong ko at makapag-handa rin ako personal sa practice namin."
As to the ill-fated campaign of the Beermen in the season's final conference, Santos said it could be God's way of also bringing the team back to the ground after making the finals twice in a row this year, while winning the Philippine Cup for a fourth straight time along the way.
"Ganun talaga. Siguro pinakita ng Diyos na hindi kami laging nasa top. Kailangan dumaan kami sa baba, humalik kami uli sa lupa, tapos magsimula ulit."
A bid for fifth straight All-Filipino Cup will definitely be a big motivation for the Beermen.
"Dapat," he said when asked about the team's title-retention bid by next season.