WITH head coach Leo Austria barred from talking to the media, Arwind Santos did much of the talking for a San Miguel Beer team that is on another ominous start in the PBA Governors Cup.
But Santos, too, is at a loss on what's ailing the Beermen.
The Beermen skipper said he gave a talk before the team after a 78-83 loss to KIA to open the conference, but that did little to wake up the reigning Philippine Cup champions who fell to Meralco in overtime, 95-106, on Saturday night.
“Ako di ko na din maintindihan kasi as captain, nag-share na rin ako ng opinion ko nung matalo kami sa KIA, eh akala ko nga mananalo na kami, tapos kinapos na naman,” rued the 33-year-old Santos.
Emerging from the gloomy Beermen dugout after the overtime defeat, Santos, who is playing through an injured left shoulder, said it's not like the team is not putting in the effort and the energy on the floor.
But if there is something lacking from this team, it is a commitment to defense.
“Kung iko-compare mo yung Philippine Cup sa ngayon, mas maganda ang depensa namin saka ang tapang ng iba kasi yung pride nandun, saka yung puso nandun,” said the former league MVP.
The former FEU star said he also felt complacency has set in for the team knowing import Arizona Reid is there to reinforce the Beermen.
“Di namin sinasabi na wala ng pride or puso 'yung team, pero mas malaki ang puso namin nung time na yun (All-Filipino),” he said. “Iyung iba sa amin, nagkakaroon ng pagiging kuntento dahil alam namin may AZ Reid.
"Pero kailangan namin isipin, 'yung ibang teams, nagpe-prepare din against us dahil may malaking import na sila,” added Santos.
Santos and the Beermen have all the reasons to be worried for the struggling start.
Weeks after winning the Philippine Cup, the Beermen lost their first four games in the Commissioner's Cup and never recovered, falling short of the playoffs.
On what's ailing the Beermen, Austria is not talking.
Spin.ph tried to reach the San Miguel coach for comment after the loss to Meralco, but he declined to talk to media on the orders of team board governor Robert Non.
Austria caused a stir after the loss to KIA when he revealed that the angry team official threatened to trade some of the players to shake up the team from its stupor.