ARWIND Santos took it as challenge when Glenn Khobuntin scored two baskets against him.
Enough is enough. A third one wasn't forthcoming.
Santos foiled Khobuntin’s attempt in KIA’s final play, paving the way for Chris Ross’ game-winning assist to Marcio Lassiter that clinched for defending champion San Miguel a heart-stopping 108-106 win on Friday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Khobuntin, who led the Picanto’s fourth-quarter comeback from as much as a 20-point deficit, earlier scored twice against Santos and was looking to come up with another one with the score tied at 106-all and the game down to its waning seconds.
But the former MVP and one of the league’s top defenders would have none of it, blocking Khobuntin’s shot off an isolation to set the stage for the Beermen’s escape act.
“Na-challenge ako kasi na-dalawahan niya ako. Para sa akin pride na yun kung ma-shootan pa ako nung huli. Kaya talagang naka-focus ako nung time na yun para ma-stop yun,” said the 36-year-old Beerman.
“Kasi talagang gustong-gusto niyang hingin yung bola. Parang sa isip ko, kayang-kaya ako nito. Parang nawala yung respeto sa akin, kaya na-challenge ako dun.”
Santos had a team-high 27 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two block shots in SMB's eighth win in 10 outings that put the three-time reigning champion in a very good position to clinch a top-two spot heading to the playoffs.
The lanky forward out of Far Eastern University did praise the Picanto for giving the Beermen a great fight down the stretch, an experience he said could do the minnows a world of good.
“Kung gusto naming makaabot sa finals, dapat matutunan namin i-handle yung mga ganitong situation,” he said.
The fine showing of Santos comes on the eve of wife Ivette’s birthday, which he said is his way of cheering her up.
Now it’s her turn to give something back to her husband.
“Mabuti na lang nanalo kami at birthday niya, siya ang magbabayad,” he said of their plan to have dinner after the win.