BETTER not blink.
That’s how Arwind Santos expects Game Seven of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series between San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa will go down on Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After waxing poetic to describe how their road to a third straight all-Filipino conference championship narrowed following a 101-94 loss in Game Five, the Beermen star heaved a sigh of relief after a 104-88 victory in Game Six that put the two teams on even footing.
“Ngayon, parehas kami ng nakikita,” Santos said ahead of the 7 p.m. matchup. “Mag-uuanahan kami ngayon, magtutulakan. Lahat gagawin na. Bahala na. Magkikita kami sa dead-end kung sino makakapanik.”
But Santos hardly believes the blowout victory puts the “favorites” tag back to the Beermen against a Texters side that pushed them to the brink of elimination.
“Hindi namin masasabi yun eh (na favorites na ulit kami),” the four-time champion said. “Kung pumasok kami nung finals, pwede. Pero sila nga yung nauna sa three (wins) eh. Buti sana kung nauna kami.”
“Hindi din namin masasabing kayang-kaya namin sila,” he added. “Kailangan talaga silang paghandaan.”
The former league MVP was among the several sparkplugs in Game Six where he finished with 21 points and missed a double-double by one rebound.
“Kahit nanalo kami, hindi ko nararamdaman yung parang (masarap mag-celebrate) — parang ok lang, kasi nai-tie namin, pero hindi kailangang mag-celebrate,” Santos said. “Kasi kung titignan mo, nung unang laro namin, iba yung pakiramdam namin.
"Nung Game One, tinambakan namin sila at feeling namin, kayang-kaya namin. In the end, sila pa yung nauna sa three (wins)…. Eh ang expected ko — malakas naman kami — dapat kami yung nasa posisyon na yun.”
“Pero ngayon nakita namin na hindi sila ganoon kadaling talunin,” he added. “Kailangan silang paghandaan.”
So expect the battle for the coveted finals ticket to go down to the wire.
“Bawal kumurap. Dapat talaga alert ka eh,” Santos said. “Kumbaga sa sniper, pag kumurap ka, baka may tumawid — makalusot. Wag kang kukurap.”