ARWIND Santos won’t hesitate to play a bit physical in San Miguel’s PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series against Talk `N Text if that’s what would take for the Beermen to make it to the Finals and eventually, end their three-year title drought.
Santos and the rest of the team underscored their readiness for the playoffs after mauling a dead-tired Talk ‘N Text side, 109-86 in Game One of their best-of-seven series that was marred by a lot of shoving and verbal tussles before a sizeable weekend crowd at the Mall of Asian Arena.
“Kung kailangan (to play physical), bakit hindi? Kasi part talaga ng basketball iyan (physicality),” said Santos, who finished with 21 points and eight boards in a near double-double performance.
The lanky forward stood at the forefront of San Miguel’s unforgiving run in the first half, scoring 14 points and anchoring the team’s relentless defensive effort to turn what had been a tight game into a lopsided win.
The 6-foot-4 Santos said San Miguel can learn a thing or two from rival Rain or Shine, a team that has integrated physicality into its game since coach Yeng Guiao took over four years ago.
“Gayan yan nung Rain or Shine na naging successful sila dahil sa physicality nila, eh siyempre, maganda talaga kung ang isang team, complete package. Magaling dumepensa, malakas mag-rebound, at physical pa.
But Santos was quick to note, the series is in its infant stage yet.
“Nakaisa pa lang kami. Ngayon, tinalo nila kami nung elims, so yung effort na pinakita namin, kailangan naming doblehin sa semis,” added the former league MVP.
The Beermen shoots for a 2-0 lead over the Talk 'N Text when Game Two of the series is played Sunday also at the Mall of Asia Arena.