ARWIND Santos’ mindset heading into Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals was simple – we're the defending champions and we don't have any plan of relinquishing the title anytime soon.
Santos' message was loud on clear on Sunday night as San Miguel came away with a 92-77 victory over Magnolia at the Mall of Asia Arena to even the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
Santos finished with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting to go along eight rebounds and two shot blocks as the Beermen atoned from a Game One letdown that saw them blow a 20-point spread.
“Siguro pinakita lang namin na hindi dahil naka three-peat na kami, papayag na lang kami na ganun-ganun na lang,” said Santos, who was later named Best Player of the Game.
“Pinakita ko lang na, bilang may-ari ng trono, kahit sino umagaw, magagalit ka,” he added.
A fired-up Santos got into several heated exchanges with the Hotshots, including a spat with second-year Magnolia guard Jio Jalalon late in the fourth when the game was already decided.
Santos said it wasn’t personal but assured they won't back down from anybody.
“Sa akin, walang personalan. Pinakita ko lang yung dapat kong i-contriibute doon maliban sa maka-focus sa laro. Kailangan ipakita mo rin na hindi ka masisindak ng kahit sino sa loob,” Santos continued.
“Akala nila siguro nakikipag-away na ako, pero yun lang ay dahil gusto ko manalo. Gusto ko mai-tie. Kasi mahirap na pag na 2-0 na kami,” he added.
Despite the win, Santos wasn't happy with the way SMB has been managing leads in the series, alarmed with how the Beermen almost lost another 20-point lead.
“Hindi mabuting tingnan para sa amin. Yun nga karamihan ng sinasabi nila, experience-wise tiyak naka-ilang champion na kami, dapat hindi kami naglalaro ng ganoon,” Santos said.
“Dapat kung lamang kami, pangalagaan na namin yun hanggang sa dulo ng laro, hanggang matapos,” he added.