CALASIAO, Pangasinan — Arwind Santos was surprised to win co-MVP honors in the 2019 PBA All-Star Game after the North All-Stars' 185-170 win over their counterparts from the South on Sunday at the Calasiao Sports Complex.
The San Miguel star finished with a team-high 34 points to go with 17 rebounds in the highest scoring All-Star game in the 30-year history of the event, winning his second MVP award in the annual spectacle.
However, Santos said he believes teammate Japeth Aguilar should have won the award by himself.
“Oo, nagulat ako,” said the 37-year-old Santos. “Akala ko si Japeth na eh. Hindi na ako nag-dalawang isip na sabihin [sa kanya] na, ‘Japeth, akin na ‘yung trophy ah. Sayo na ‘yung susunod.’"
Santos said the win in the All-Star Game and the MVP honor wouldn't have been possible if not for the bond the North players developed in so short a time.
That bond was already there during practices for the traditional pre-game dance-off.
“Ang masaya rito, alam ko ‘yung mga kasama ko eh parang isang team kami. Parang hindi kami magkakaibang teams. Sobrang ganun kami. Sana lagi kaming ganun kahit na magkakalaban kami,” said Santos.
“’Yung dance step namin, ang daming shuffle. May suggestion si Paul Lee, may suggestion si Marc Pingris, talagang nakikita ko, gusto nilang manalo. Talagang natutuwa ako kaya pinagbutihan namin.
"Di bale nang matalo sa laro, wag lang sa dance-off."