COACH Gee Abanilla just posted a 'missing' sign in search of the player he referred to as 'one of the reasons' why Petron has reached the PBA Governors Cup Finals but has disappeared since.
“We need him in the series,” said Abanilla, short of begging star player Arwind Santos to once more display the kind of game that made him the current league Most Valuable Player.
“He’s one of the reasons why we reached this far. And if he contributes more, it will be good for us.”
Unfortunately for the Boosters, that has not been the case for the lanky 6-foot-4 Santos the past two games of the Finals, particularly Sunday’s Game Five which Petron lost, 114-103, and gave San Mig a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The former Far Eastern University stalwart finished with only two points in 18 minutes of play and rode the bench for most of the second half after committing a flagrant foul 1 on Joe Devance early in the third quarter.
He didn’t come back until the final 2:04 and San Mig Coffere already holding a commanding 113-102 lead.
“I thought it was a coaching decision,” Abanilla said of his move not to field in Santos in the late stretch of the game. “I just thought some players were playing really well. It’s just a matter of match-up also because they’re fielding in a small lineup and we felt we need someone who’s quicker.”
The two points of Santos equaled his season low and worse than his four-point performance in yet another loss in Game Four (88-86) on the night he was crowned MVP.
Still, Abanilla said the Boosters remain all-out behind their star forward, who was bashed on different social media networks following his woeful performance the last time.
“Before this game I had a talk with him, we assured him that our confidence remains in him,” said the Petron rookie coach.
“He’s been hearing a lot of things on social media and assured him the team is backing him up and we believe in him. Other people may have some opinion, but for us, he’s a valuable piece of our team and we need him.”