ALASKA coach Alex Compton marveled at how San Miguel Beer star Arwind Santos managed to take, let alone make, the go-ahead three-pointer that broke the Aces’ hearts and paved the way for the Beermen to be crowned the PBA Philippine Cup champions on Wednesday.
Santos had played almost the entire game (46.41 minutes) before he launched and converted the three-pointer from the right wing that put the Beermen on top for good at 79-78 with 46 seconds left.
“To have the legs to make that shot, that’s tough,” Compton said. “He’s a jump shooter and didn’t take a set shot.”
Santos shot 5-of-11 from beyond the arc and made a total of eight of his 20 shots to finish with a team-high 22 points, along with 12 boards, four blocks, three steals, and two assists to be named the Finals MVP.
Compton also believes it took more than physical effort.
“To make that shot, that's guts. He deserves a lot of credit,” the American mentor said at the end of the Beermen's 80-78 victory. “That’s a huge shot in a Game Seven of an all-Filipino series.”
The Aces where held scoreless since the huge basket as they fell short of another monumental comeback from 23 points down.
“It’s like this weird mixture of pride in the way our guys fought back and tremendous disappointment in not closing it out,” Compton said. “The disappointment is about the result than the effort.”
That effort saw them erase the deficit and take a six-point lead, only to falter in the end after missing some crucial charities — a total of 15 out of 25 attempts.
“We were one possession away,” Compton said. “Ten for twenty-five from the free-throw line sure doesn’t help.
“It felt like it was the emotional shock of being in a Game Seven of an all-Filipino series,” the affable mentor added. “I thought that we really fought back. In the second half, we obviously did the whole Alaska-let’s-get-crazy comeback.”