ARWIND Santos cherished the opportunity to be included anew in the season’s PBA Mythical First Team.
But he’d rather trade the away for another award he deemed more significant.
“Iba kasi yung (All-Defensive) player ka, isa yan sa mga maipagmamalaki mo,” said the San Miguel veteran forward, who’s obviously disheartened after being left out anew in the All-Defensive Team given out during the annual Leo Awards Night on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Hindi naman natin sinasabi na hindi importante itong Mythical Team, Sportsmanship, tsaka yung iba pa. Pero iba pa rin kasi yun. Ngayon kasi ang pinakamahirap ituro ay depense. Yung opensa madali lang yan. So para sa akin, mahalagang award yung All-Defensive Team.”
For three straight seasons now, the former league MVP failed to crack the team anew which for this season was composed by Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Chris Ross, and Ping Exciminiano.
Still, the lanky 35-year-old big man out of Far Eastern University remains one of the league’s top defensive forces, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year awardee by the PBA Press Corps, and for seven straight seasons from 2007 to 2013, was part of the All-Defensive Team.
Santos even bared plans to become a defensive coach once his stellar pro career is over.
“Alam kong gawin at alam ko yung konting technique,” he said. “Naniniwala ako someday, may plano talaga akong mag-coach at doon ako tututok sa mga players ko.”
This doesn’t mean the Mythical 1st team award is not appreciated in a season that saw Santos play a key role in San Miguel retaining the Philippine Cup crown behind an amazing comeback from a deep 0-3 hole in the finals, and making the semis of both the Commissioner’s and Governor’s Cup.
“Sana ito yung award na hindi pa yung huli,” said Santos, now an eight-time member of the coveted award. “Ako naman yung player na puwede pang magpalakas, tutulong sa team, gagawin yung best, at makikipagsapalaran pa rin para sa mga kabataan.”
It would have also been significant had the Beermen made the finals of the season-ending conference for a shot at defending their title. As it was, the team lost to Barangay Ginebra in the deciding Game Five of their series.
Santos has accepted the fact though, that San Miguel can’t win them all.
“Ganun talaga. Hindi naman laging fried chicken, tuyo naman,” he said.
“Meron pa namang All-Filipino,” the Beerman said of the league’s opening conference starting on November 20. “Maikli lang naman yung paghihintay namin. Hindi naman kami mainipin.”