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    Arwind Santos says trade away from SMB won't break him. He explains

    Nov 9, 2021
    'Inasahan ko ba na mate-trade ako? Hindi," says Arwind Santos. "Pero never ko rin inisip na never mangyayari sa akin ito."
    PHOTO: Jaime Campos

    A DAY after being involved in one of the most stunning trades in PBA history, Arwind Santos sounded surprisingly calm as he answered a reporter's probing questions.

    Was he also calm on the inside?

    "Nakakabigla, syempre. Pero wala namang imposible sa mundo," the former PBA MVP told SPIN.ph profoundly a day after a one-on-one trade to NorthPort for Vic Manuel ended an eventful 12-year stay with the fabled San Miguel franchise.

    The deal has sent shockwaves around the league, not so much for its enormity but more for San Miguel's decision to part with a foundational piece of the 'Death Five' team that for years reigned as the most dominant in the league.

    During that memorable stretch, the wiry forward won nine championships, an MVP award, a Finals MVP honor, two Best Player of the Conference plums, seven Mythical First Team and four All-Defensive Team selections that established Santos as one of the franchise's greatest players, if not its most polarizing figure.

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    The trade ended an eventful 12-year career at San Miguel for Arwind Santos.

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    Actually, his ties with SMC were forged even before he was acquired by the Beermen in a trade with Air21 in 2009 - extending all the way to the time his father, a former player himself, worked as a security guard in the old B-Meg plant that used to stand near Camp Olivas in San Nicolas, Sto Tomas, Pampanga.

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    It was precisely those days in Pampanga, when his family struggled to make both ends meet while the skinny, Lubao-born kid took on menial jobs to help put food on the table, which Arwind considered tough.

    Tough, he said, was pedaling a pedicab through the flooded roads of San Nicolas while charging P3 per passenger; tough was scavenging for bote at bakal from other people's garbage, or peddling makopa ang mangoes in the heat of summer.

    Seeing the roof and windows of your house being blown away by a typhoon while your father tells you to hold on to anything that floats in case flood waters overwhelms the home? That's tough, Santos said.

    Getting traded? Nah.

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      "Ang basketball, actually, ang madali sa buhay ko," said the PBA star. "Ang ma-trade? Sobrang blessed ko sa buhay, at ang dami kong dapat ipasalamat sa ating Panginoon, para maging malungkot."

      Santos admitted that he didn't see the trade coming. But at the same time the 6-3 forward said he never ruled out being traded, even at this late stage of his career with the Beermen.

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      "Inasahan ko ba na mate-trade ako? Hindi," said the former Far Eastern University standout. "Pero never ko rin inisip na never mangyayari sa akin ito. Siguro, meron lang ibang plano sa atin ang Panginoon."

      Arwind stands defiant

      What Santos is sure of is that this trade won't break him.

      The former MVP said he never lacked motivation his entire basketball career: whether it was to put food on the table during his ligang labas days or to give a better life to his family later in the PBA. The trade, he said, only gave him an extra push to prove that he can still be a difference-maker for a team like NorthPort, even at age 40.

      "Ako 'yung klase ng tao na hindi nawawalan ng gagawin. Hindi ako pwedeng nakaupo lang kung may pwede akong gawin para gumanda ang laro ko," he said. "Ngayon, mayroon na naman akong kailangang patunayan, sa sarili ko at sa ibang tao."

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      "Kaya laban lang."

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        'Inasahan ko ba na mate-trade ako? Hindi," says Arwind Santos. "Pero never ko rin inisip na never mangyayari sa akin ito."
        PHOTO: Jaime Campos
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