ARWIND Santos underlined his status as one of the best defensive players in PBA history by notching two milestones on Sunday in San Miguel Beer’s 94-91 win over Mahindra in the Philippine Cup.
The SMB stalwart blocked six shots, the first three enough to move him to No. 10 in the all-time list, while he collared eight defensive rebounds that increased his tally to 3,001, making him only the 14th player to grab at least 3,000, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
“Siymepre thankful ako and masaya ako umabot ako sa ganun na hindi ko naman akalain na makukuha ko ‘yung mga yun,” Santos said after achieving his twin feats on his 500th game in the league. “Naging part ako kasi kumbaga kahit wala ka na sa mundo, nakaukit na yan sa history ng PBA.”
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One of his blocks was a crucial one on LA Revilla, proudly shaking his head while looking at the Mahindra point guard after rejecting his layup attempt that would’ve pulled the Floodbuster ahead further.
Santos also forced Joseph Eriobu to take an ill-advised double-pump three-point attempt that denied Mahindra a shot at regaining the lead in the waning seconds.
It seems Santos was just channeling the defensive lynchpins he has idolized.
“Sila coach Glenn Capacio, Marlou Aquino, Benjie Paras: magagaling sumupalpal. Jerry Codinera (pa). Sa NBA, si Dikembe Mutombo, siya ang pinakamagaling na shotblocker nung araw,” Santos rattled off.
Santos, though, is still striving for consistency and amass as many individual awards as he can.
“Maging part ng Myhtical Team pa, MVP,” the former MVP said. “Kailangan gustuhin mo nang gustuhin kahit mahirap. Hindi ka pupwedeng makuntento.”