DID you see Arwind Santos making the 'eyes wide open' gesture late in San Miguel's game against Ginebra on Sunday night?
The former league MVP admitted it was intended for a heckler from the Ginebra side who had jeered him from the start. He also got the last laugh by leading San Miguel to a 104-102 overtime win and a 2-0 lead in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
The SMB star forward had been cold in the early going, missing all but one of his first eight shots to hear the jeers from the Ginebra crowd, particularly from this one fan at ringside that he initially ignored.
But after knocking down the three-pointer that nudged the Beermen to within three points, 93-90, with a little less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Santos turned to his heckler and looked at him sarcastically with his finger opening his right eye.
“Minsan kasi, may fans na hindi naman gusto kong patulan; Isa yun sa nagpu-push sa akin…Yung time na yon, kasi nga ang sama ng ano ko, tinatawag niya pangalan ko, rinig na rinig ko, pero di ko siya tinitignan,” Santos began.
“Pero kung asaran rin lang, pinanganak akong mangaasar eh,” he added. “Sa aming magkakapatid, ‘di mo ako tatalunin sa pangaasar. Eh nung huli, naka-shoot ako, parang ang sarap mang asar. Binalikan ko siya tapos nakikita ko siya ganon, ganon.”
That didn’t end there as Santos then gestured a wide smile – seemingly directed again at the heckler – when he hit another three-pointer, this time tying the game at 95 to set the stage for overtime.
“So parang okay, okay, wag lang kaming magkaroon ng pagkakataon na makapuwing. Baka balikan kita mamaya at pupuwingin din kita. Parang ganon. Yun lang,” he continued.
Santos insisted it was nothing personal, implying he was just going with the flow.
“Minsan lang yon sa aming mga players,” the 12-year veteran said. “Minsang gusto lang namin silang patulan pero walang personalan.”
“Ganoon talaga basketball, ‘di ba? Pagka kami natalo, ako talo doon, ‘di ba,” he added. “Pero kanina God is good, nanalo kami, siya ang talo. Ganoon ang mundo. Di mo malalagi na ikaw ang mananalo, ikaw matatalo.”
On this night, Santos, who finished with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, 10 boards, five assists, two blocks, and one steal in 45 minutes, had the last laugh as the Beermen took a 2-0 lead in the series.
“Ayun nakaulit nga kami (pumitas),” Santos said. “Nakakuha na kami ng isang kaing, ‘di ba? Sobrang nag enjoy kami sa napitas namin. Gusto lang namin na ariin yung puno next time.”
“Pag naari na namin yung puno sa pangatlong panalo, bibilhin na namin yung lupa kung saan nakatanim yung puno na yon,” he added.