ARWIND Santos refused to blame his sub-par effort in Game Two of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals to what seemed a distraction -- the Best Player of the Conference plum he received before the match.
The Petron Blaze superstar emerged as the top local in the season-ending conference, but failed to live up to expectations on Sunday as he was limited to just four points on 2-of-8 shooting, two assists, one block, and a solitary rebound in 27 minutes before fouling out in the 93-100 loss by the Boosters.
His point and rebound total were both conference lows.
“(Distraction) ang sinasabi nila. Pero ako hindi,” Santos said inside the Petron dugout. “In fact, ganado pa rin ako nung binigay sa akin `yung award. May mga shots naman ako na talagang shots ko na hindi lang talaga pumasok.”
Despite his lowly performance, the 32-year-old pride of Angeles City, Pampanga, who had 16 points, three rebounds, and two steals in Game One, can still attest the Boosters gave their sister team a run for their money.
“Kahit ganun `yung laro ko, nakita naman natin na talagang lumaban pa rin kami,” said Santos, whose team nudged to within three points with less than 10 seconds left before falling short. “Hindi namin nakita na kayang-kaya kami ng San Mig.”
“Isa lang ang nasa isip namin ngayon. Babawi kami sa Game Three.”
While he was pleased with his latest feat, the do-it-all forward said he will be happier if his team wins the championship.
“Tinatago natin yung saya kasi ayaw kong ipakita sa teammates ko na masaya ako pero hindi pa namin naaabot yung goal namin,” Santo said. “Gusto ko everybody happy.”
Can he still hide his happiness now that he’s firmly in the hunt for a breakthrough MVP award?
“Hindi ko pwede ipakita agad yung excitement. 'Di naman kasi ako selfish,” Santos said. “Nasa vision board ko ang MVP award, pero nandun rin ang championship.”