ARWIND Santos offered no excuses for Petron’s unfortunate start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, but the Boosters star player says there’s no reason to panic yet.
Among the tournament favorites, the Boosters started on the wrong foot Friday and suffered a 92-94 loss to the retooled Globalport Batang Pier on opening night of the import-laden conference at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“May mga malilit na bagay na mistakes, especially sa defense,” Santos told Spin.ph about the sorry loss.
The 6-foot-3 forward who led Petron in both scoring and rebounding in the Philippine Cup himself struggled mightily against the Batang Pier, shooting just 6-of-19 from the field. The perennial MVP contender also missed a three-pointer in the dying seconds that could have won the game for the Boosters.
“Bawi na lang kami. Kailangan lang kalimutan na itong nangyari. First game pa lang. Di naman ibig sabihing natalo kami, iyan na ang magiging resulta. May chance pa naman kaming bumawi,” added the soft-spoken former FEU King Tamaraw.
Petron is coming off a confidence-building championship run in the 2013 Sinulog Cup last weekend in Cebu City, beating Alaska in the winner-take-all match.
But the Boosters struggled to put away the Batang Pier, who played almost the entire second half without high-leaping import Justin Williams.
Williams was ejected early in the third period for incurring a flagrant foul 2 after hitting Petron rookie big man June Mar Fajardo with his elbow during a rebound play.
The hard-luck Boosters then suffered another hit when they lost sophomore Fil-Am gunner Chris Lutz to injury as the former national team mainstay went down with a fractured rib less than three minutes into the game that could sideline him for as much as six weeks.
Santos said the Boosters just can’t allow the injury bug to affect them, especially since they are trying to move on after a turbulent Philippine Cup performance.
“Di ko na iniisip yun eh (injury). Kahit may nai-injure like si Marcio (Lassiter), wala namang may gusto nun eh. So kailangan lang naming lumaban kahit kulang kami sa piyesa.
“Naniniwala naman ang bawat isa na kaya naming manalo,” said Santos, whose team tries to bounce back on Wednesday when the Boosters face defending champion San Mig Coffee Mixers.