ARWIND Santos refused to pick between Renaldo Balkman and Charles Rhodes on San Miguel Beer’s possible import replacement following coach Leo Austria’s hint of a change after the powerhouse team remained winless in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup following a 123-119 overtime loss to Rain or Shine on Sunday.
The talk of change grew louder when current Troy Gillenwater was ejected early in the team’s road game against the Elasto Painters, leaving the Beermen with an all-Filipino lineup in the second half and extra session on the way to dropping to 0-2.
“May mga adjustment kaming gagawin, and -- di ko lang alam -- baka may changes kami,” Santos admitted. “May sinabi yung mga coaches na may changes, so sila na bahala dun.”
Asked who he prefers between Balkman, who already made amends after choking him during their time as teammates in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, or Rhodes, who led the Beermen to the in last year’s edition of the midseason tournament, Santos implied it’s a win-win situation either way.
“Hindi ko masasagot yan. Pareho ko naman silang gusto,” the SMB star forward said. “Ako, doesn’t matter, as long na mananalo kami.”
And Gillenwater has yet to lead them to one, leaving the Beermen alarmed early in their title-retention and Grand Slam bid.
“Oo naman (alarmed),” Santos admitted. “Syempre maikli lang yung season, importante yung panalo. Kaso yun nga, 0-2. Pero ang maganda rito, may pag-asa pa naman kami, at malayo pa. Pwede pa rin namin makuha yung top two. Yun ang goal namin eh.”
“Pero kung hindi kami papalarin, ganun talaga buhay, hindi laging doon ka sa ibabaw, minsan nandudun ka rin sa ilalim. Pero di ibig sabihin na susuko kami,” he added.
The former league MVP has been flashing his vintage form, stepping up in the absence of Gillenwater in the second half as he registered 29 points – highlighted by six triples, nine rebounds, five blocks, four assists, and one steal before fouling out after 43 minutes as a starter.
"Sayang lang, may mga turnovers, ganyan, may mga fouls na crucial, sayang. Yun lang," Santos said.