THE PBA Philippine Cup Finals is San Miguel Beer’s turf and Barangay Ginebra is just begging to enter.
That’s how confident Arwind Santos is as the two-time defending champion Beermen take on the challenge of the Gin Kings in this all-Filipino Finals starting with Game One on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After all, the Beermen boast arguably the league’s deepest squad, bannered by the unstoppable June Mar Fajardo.
“Sabi ko dapat yung team ko pag all-Filipino, sa amin na,” Santos beamed. “Yung lineup namin, okay na pati yung samahan namin. Ngayon na nandito kami, nandoon ang expectation ko na dapat talaga makuha namin ito.”
The SMB star is not trying to brag; he just knows the Beermen have been toughened by every single adversity they went through in the last two Philippine Cups, the last where they overcame a three-game deficit to stun Alaska and author the greatest comeback in league history.
“Dapat mas gamay mo na kung paano manalo ng championship. Na-experience na namin ito eh,” Santos said as he his team aims for the Perpetual trophy that the Beermen can take home if they win their third straight all-Filipino crown.
“Ang maganda sa team namin, nandito ang tiwala namin sa isa't isa. Walang masamang tinapay,” he added. “Lahat okay, lahat masaya. Alam namin ang role namin. Talagang laban, ayaw magpatalo ng bawat isa. Pag individually, ganoon ang players mo, pag pinagsama-sama, lakas ‘yun.”
The former league MVP, however, is still wary of the Gin Kings, knowing TNT KaTropa almost made a successful intrusion in their semifinal series.
“Nung kalaban namin ang TNT, muntik pa kami mabigo, pero God is good at nandito kami, nandito pa ang pangarap namin, makukuha pa namin,” Santos said.
“Pero ‘di ganoong kadali,” he added. “Kahit alam mo na (paano manalo), syempre sila may preparation din, dapat paghandaan mo rin. Minsan, pwede ka madala. Dapat alive ka lang. Wag kang kukurap.”