Arwind Santos glad not to let 'big boss' down as SMB takes TNT out of finals picture
Arwind Santos says he and the rest of the Beermen were summoned to a late-night talk with SMC chief Ramon S. Ang on the eve of Game Seven against TNT. Jerome Ascano

BEATING a corporate rival for a place in the PBA Philippine Cup finals is no doubt special for San Miguel Corp.

On the eve of San Miguel's game against TnT Katropa, team owner Ramon S. Ang met the entire team to emphasize how important is is for the franchise to take out the biggest threat to the Beermen’s bid for a third successive all-Filipino Cup title.

Of course, no one says no to the ‘Boss,’ and so the entire team went and sat down with the man they simply called RSA. Never mind if it was already late in the night.

“First time nangyari, may game ngayon,” said Santos. “Pero pumunta kami, nakakatuwa talaga.”

“Nahihiya rin kami na hindi namin ibigay yung best namin kasi concerned na concerned siya sa amin at naniniwala siya na kaya namin.”

That’s what exactly the Beermen did.

Protecting a slim two-point lead at the half, the reigning champions went on a tear in the third quarter when they outscored the Texters, 36-21, to grab a 77-60 advantage heading to the payoff period.

The Beermen never let up from there to complete a sweep of the final two games of the series, which they won, 4-3.

[See SMB takes drama out of Game Seven, seals place in PBA Finals]

Santos shared scoring honors with June Mar Fajardo with 22 points – 13 coming in the second half, marking the second straight game where he played well for the team.  He also added 13 rebounds in an extended 42 minutes of play.

“Expect din ng boss namin ito. Hindi naman siya pressured, pero siyempre, gusto rin namin masuklian yung kabutihang ginagawa sa amin ng boss namin, nung nag-aalaga sa amin,” said the lanky veteran forward.

San Miguel is now in the finals of the Philippine Cup for the third straight season, and will face the winner of the other semifinal duel between Star and Barangay Ginebra.

Whatever happens, it’s a win-win situation for the SMC group as the company is assured of keeping the all-Filipino trophy.

“Kaya para sa kanya (RSA) itong game na ito,” said Santos.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos