THE veteran player that he is, Arwind Santos wouldn’t hesitate to take a huge shot with the outcome of a game on the line.
Never mind if he’s scoreless and struggling from the field.
The lanky forward nailed a clutch three-pointer down the stretch to give San Miguel the lead for good in a nail-biting 77-76 win over Star that tied their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series at one-game apiece on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Until he drained the three-pointer that broke the game’s final deadlock at 74-all inside the final two minutes, Santos, 36, hadn’t made a single basket and was 0-of-5 from the floor, including 0-of-4 from three-point range.
“Kapag dumating sa point na open ka, kailangan pa rin buo ang loob na ibitaw yun kasi tira mo yun,” said Santos of the huge trey reminiscent of the one he scored in overtime of Game 7 of the Philippine Cup finals that won it for the Beermen over the Alaska Aces.
This is not the worst offensive game of Santos, recalling how at times he ended up failing to score while even in college at Far Eastern University.
But ‘The Spiderman’ always makes it a point to make up for the gaffe by contributing in other departments, more specifically on the defensive end.
“Yung time na nangyari sa akin yun, pinag-aralan ko kung paano makabalik, kung paano makapag-focus, kung paano maka-contirbute kahit wala kang score. Unang-una, siyempre sa depensa,” he stressed.
“Kahit hindi ako umiiskor, atleast kahit paapano sa depensa nandoon ako.”
That’s exactly what he did as he grabbed four rebounds and did his part defending Star import Ricardo Ratliffe, who nonetheless, still got his numbers of 25 points and 35 rebounds.
It’s not easy trying to contain Ratliffe, he admitted.
“Malaking bagay yung import nila, nakakailang din kahit papaano,” Santos stressed.
More than anything else, Santos said the Beermen need to take care of the ball well, pointing out how June Mar Fajardo’s dangerous cross-court pass was anticipated by the Hotshots that led to a crucial turnover with 23 seconds left and the Beermen protecting a slim one-point edge.
Good thing, Paul Lee missed on Star’s final offensive play that allowed San Miguel to escape with the thrilling win.
“Yung turnover namin dapat mabawasan,” he noted.”Kanina yung kay June Mar turnover yun, doon kami muntik matalo hindi dahil sa ganda ng depensa nila.”