EVEN before the conference began, Arwind Santos was aware he has to make some sacrifices in terms of playing time to make room for Charles Rhodes at the power forward position.
By accepting a reduced role, he has become an even bigger asset for San Miguel.
The former PBA MVP came up big in the final two games as the Beermen finished off TNT KaTropa in Game Six of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
The proud product of Far Eastern University churned out averages of 22 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in Games 5 and 6 to lead the Beermen to a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven series - and their 21st title in the pro league.
“Siguro ang pinagkukunan ko kasi ng lakas, yung position ko dito sa San Miguel bilang captain ball,” said Santos when asked how he embraced an off-the-bench role in the powerhouse team.
“Marami na rin tayong mga past games na napatunayan. Hindi pwedeng wala akong ma-contribute talaga. Lalo na sa mga situation na to, finals. Thankful ako na nakapag-contribute ako. Andun ang mga suporta ng mga teammates namin at coaches ko,” he added.
Santos, who has now won six championships with the Beermen, claimed the secret to their recent success in the tournament was sacrifice.
“Yung team na to, wala ka nang hahanapin pa. Lahat willing mag-sacrifice at mag-contribute,” said the 35-year-old forward from Pampanga.
“Sobrang tuwang-tuwa ako dahil yung mga teammates ko, sa practice namin ang saya saya lang namin, kahit nahihirapan kami,” he added.
Despite signs of a growing dynasty after the Beermen won their fifth championship over the last eight conferences, Santos sent out a message to everyone waiting for them to be complacent and slip up.
It’s never gonna happen.
“Yung mga nangyayari na ganito, champion, mas lalo kaming nagiging buo. Ito na 'yung nagiging bread and butter namin, lalong-lalo na tong dadating na next conference,” he said.
“ Kahit nakikita niyo na nagcha-champion San Miguel, nagpapasalamat lang kami at hindi ibig sabihin nun na titigil kami na mangarap.”
The aspiring singer and songwriter then waxed poetic to describe the championship feeling.
“Sobrang tamis na lahat ng tao gustong gusto nilang kagatin kasi alam nila, pag nakagat nila, kahit di sila kumain ng isang linggo, nakangiti pa rin sila. Yung pakiramdam talaga nito na talagang di mo ipagpapalit,” said Santos.
“Kahit di ka matulog ng dalawang araw, nakangiti ka pa rin kaya siguro kailangan rin naming ibalik sa mga taong nagmamahal at sumusuporta sa amin. Kailangan mai-share rin namin sa kanila yung happiness na binigay ni God.”