Arwind Santos invites family of fan killed in Mamasapano clash to watch SMB game
SMB Arwind Santos says he had goose bumps while hearing about the story of Police Inspector Joey Gamutan, an SMB fan who was one of 44 SAF men killed in the Maguindanao clash. Jerome Ascano

ARWIND Santos and his wife Ivette were supposed to head back home to Greenwoods, Pasig on Saturday night after coming from a party when they chanced upon the story of the 44 fallen members of the Special Action Forces in the late-night news.

Santos said seeing the TV news clips of the SAF, who were brutally slain in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, prompted him to convince his wife to drop by even for just a few hours at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

Later, the San Miguel Beer star forward said it was a decision he won’t regret, especially upon hearing the story of the widow of Police Inspector Joey Gamutan.

“Nung malapit na kaming matapos sa pagbisita, may nakausap akong pamilya na nakapag-pakilabot sa akin. Nakausap ko yung isang asawa ng namatay na SAF (Gamutan), sabi niya, San Miguel fan 'yung asawa niya at nanalo nga daw siya sa pustahan,” Santos shared to Spin.ph.

“Sabi daw niya manlilibre siya ng Jollibee sa kanila pero 'yun nga, namatay na siya,” he said.

SMB star Arwind Santos talks to the family of one of the slain SAF men. Photo from Ellen Tordesillas' blog.
SMB star Arwind Santos talks to the family of one of the slain SAF men. Photo from Ellen Tordesillas' blog.

Santos stayed on till 3 a.m. with his wife, saying he never thought that a basketball player like him could give so much joy to grieving family members at Camp Bagong Diwa.

“Inabot kami ng mga 3 a.m. dun sa Camp Bagong Diwa. Eh di ko akalain na makaka-bahagi pa kami ng blessing sa mga namatayan at mabigyan sila ng kasiyahan kahit man lang ng ilang oras,” he added.

Veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas first broke the news about Santos' visit to the wake of the SAF men.

The 33-year-old one-time PBA MVP said the experience of visiting the wake of slain SAF officers was indescribable.

“Di ko ma-describe yung pakiramdam ko, yung makita mo napakaraming kabaong, mga tao dun na umiiyak. Eh pakiramdam ko parang galing lang ako sa giyera, “ he said.

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The San Miguel forward, who earned his second Finals MVP in the recent Philippine Cup, said invited Gamutan’s widow and their five-year-old daughter to watch a live PBA game once they are ready.

He’s hopeful he could also visit them and even other family members of the slain SAF officers some time this year in Zamboanga.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava