SAN Miguel Beer may be known for its vaunted firepower, but ultimately it’s still defense that will be its primary weapon if the team is to retain the PBA Philippine Cup title.
While noting how the Beermen had won two games so far in the best-of-seven finals by scoring above 100 points as was the case again in Wednesday night’s Game 4, Arwind Santos believes the team that plays ‘good D’ will be the one to emerge as champion.
“Kailangan talaga yung depensa hindi mawala e, dahil yun talaga ang nagpapanalo. Sabi nga nila pag maganda ang depensa ng isang team, kaya kang ipag-champion nito,” he said.
“Pero ang opensa, kaya kang dalhin sa finals. Pero ang depensa iba talaga.”
The Beermen whipped the Hotshots, 114-98, in the highest scoring output combined so far in the best-of-seven title series.
But while the four-time champions flaunted their offense, Santos pointed out to the small details in defense that allowed the Beermen to tie the series at 2-2.
He cited rebounding as one factor as San Miguel won the battle of the boards this time, 53-46.
Santos noted it wasn’t the case the last time when the smaller Hotshots clobbered them underneath, 71-46
“Maganda rin yung depensa namin, hindi lang yung opensa namin. Yung depensang sinasabi ko yung naout-rebound namin sila. Malaking bagay yun,” said the one-time MVP.
“Kasi yung time na tinalo nila kami 28 offensive rebounds ang meron sila sobrang ang layo,” Santos added. “Nag-focus kami run, mga boxout, mga maliliit na bagay na para ma-control na in yung rebounds nila. Nagawa naman namin, kaya tingin ko isa rin yun sa mga nagdala.”
Santos pointed out the series has been like a see-saw so far, with Magnolia winning the last time, and now San Miguel.
Hopefully, the trend will vary come Game 5 on Friday also at the Big Dome.
“Game 5? Siyempre hindi na natin puwedeng i-tie yan. Malamang may lalamang,” he said.
And Santos hopes it would be the Beermen.
“Sana kami na,” he said.” Sabi ko magpre-pray kami at magtitiwala kami sa bawat isa para makuha namin yun. Alam ko naman, lahat kami nakikita ko sa dugout gigil na na gigil kami kasi gusto naming makauna. Hindi kami makauna. Sana itong Game 5.”
Again, defense would play a key role.
“Siguro mas lalo naming diinan at i-solido namin yung depensa sa Game 5 para makuha namin,” he said.