AS calls from fans for San Miguel Beer to trade Arwind Santos grow louder, the PBA team's top management has spoken: There is absolutely no plan to trade the former league MVP.
“To set the record straight, walang plans ang San Miguel management na i-trade si Arwind, wala ni katiting na idea,” San Miguel Beer team governor Robert Non told Spin.ph on Monday.
Non, who is also the highest official of San Miguel Corp.'s basketball operations, insisted that Santos and newly crowned league MVP June Mar Fajardo comprise the nucleus of the team.
“Sila ni June Mar ang core ng team. Hindi sila pang-trade,” said the former PBA chairman.
Non admitted he is aware of the clamor from some fans to trade away the Pampanga-born forward, but insisted the 30-year-old Santos still brings a lot of value to the team during games.
“If you look at the stats, mataas naman. Hindi masisisi (ng solo lang kay Arwind ang fate ng team),” he said. “Kaya nga this is what I am telling everybody: Maraming factors why you lose a game, it is not just because of one person.”
Non said he has encouraged Santos to atone for the drop in his game this season to prove doubters wrong.
“May perceived nga na pagbaba nung laro niya, pero it doesn’t necessarily mean na wala na siyang value. Kung titignan mo yung stats, okay pa rin naman contributions nung Arwind,” Non said.
“We encouraged him na magpakita (na ulit ng maganda). Lalo ngayon 'pag natatalo, siya ang nasisisi (ng fans),” said Non.
“'X factor' ang tawag ko dyan. He does a lot of things (for the team) masyado eh. Not only that he score, he gets rebounds, he blocks, he steals, he hustles. He can guard 2, 3 and 4 men. Ganun siya ka-versatile as a defender,” said Escobar.
“He brings a lot of things to the table. Iyan ang sikreto niya kaya siya nag MVP last season,” added the former Shell Turbocharger.
Asked if he is aware of the calls from fans to trade Santos, Escobar was surprised.
“Wow, may ganun ba talaga? Sa akin sayang siya kung ite-trade siya ng San Miguel, para sa akin he can be of help sa kahit anong team na malilipatan niya,” said Escobar.
“Baka mamaya ma-trade nga siya, magsisisi pa nga fans ng San Miguel. Lahat ng intangibles that I mentioned, mawawala. Iba ang dinadala niya sa table eh," he added.
Escobar conceded he has seen a drop in Santos' game this season.
“From time to time, he struggled. Sometimes he looks for his shots too much, medyo nanggigigil. Syempre, he is pressured dahil MVP siya … people expect points production from him. So sometimes it becomes a bad shot,” he explained.
“Siguro, huwag na niyang pilitin (na umiskor) and let the game come to him. The intangibles are still there for him naman,” added Escobar.
There may be other factors, Escobar added.
“We also have to know, kung internal problems sa team … Maybe he’s just not getting along well, which is what we don’t see.”