BENEATH the brave facade, Petron star Arwind Santos silently suffered in each of the three times he narrowly missed out on winning the PBA's Most Valuable Player award.
This was bared by Santos' wife Ivette, who nonetheless said the frustration never stopped Arwind from trying to become an even better player.
“Ganun si Arwind. Yung frustrations niya and all … tsina-channel niya into positive vibes. Instead of mag-mukmok siya, lalo siyang nagdo-doble ensayo,” said Mrs. Santos, who was in California, when Spin.ph caught up with her.
Santos had been in contention for the league's highest individual award the past three seasons but lost out each time, first to James Yap, then to Jimmy Alapag and last season to Mark Caguioa.
“I was touched kasi every time na kinapos siya dun, he would tell me: ‘Okay lang ako, I’m happy because I have you and my kids,'” recalled Ivette, who is the daughter of former FEU coach Danny Gavieres.
“Positive kasi yan si Arwind. And marunong siyang makuntento kung anong meron na siya,” she added. “Arwind has the desire to achieve his goals. But he is also well versed in the virtue of contentment.”
Ivette also narrated how her hubby would devote extra time to his training after each MVP setback - keeping himself in shape, watching his food intake, and engaging in physical activities almost twice a day.
The high-flying Lubao, Pampanga pride is also known to do at least 30 minutes of exercises before and after games and practices.
“Arwind doesn’t just give his 120 percent. He prepares himself more. Ganun siya ka-dedicated sa profession niya, ganun niya kamahal ang trabaho niya,” Mrs. Santos bared.
Santos, 26, is once again in contention for the MVP award, leading the statistical race going into the homestretch of the PBA Governors' Cup with a 30.3 statistical point average.
Alaska super rookie Calvin Abueva is in second place with 28.5 SPs, followed by Ginebra guard LA Tenorio, his teammate and reigning MVP Mark Caguioa and Solomon Mercado of Globalport.
“Dyan mo makikita na walang mabigat or easy na laban. Honestly, all of them are the ‘best of the best’ players in the PBA now. They also deserve the title,” said Ivette, a former FEU courtside reporter during her younger days.
“Yung mapasama lang si Arwind at maging kahilera nila sa MVP race, it is already an honor for me.”
Mrs. Santos, however, said that with Petron right on course to ending a championship drought, she believes her husband would rather focus on winning the championship than the MVP race, as was the case in 2011.
“I tell you, mas importante kay Arwind ang team niya than personal merit. Kasi alam niya na 'yung MVP, pag hindi na nakuha ngayon, he can still go for it next year and the succeeding years,” Santos said.
“It will be a never-ending chase for Arwind, not because he craves for it (MVP), but because he wants to play better for his team and fans … and not for himself,” she concluded.