Arwind Santos knows SMB can turn to defense amid offensive off night, especially from Fajardo 
Arwind Santos raises the no. 1 sign after defending champion San Miguel edged out Barangay Ginebra in a thriller. Jerome Ascano

ARWIND Santos was glad San Miguel Beer showed it can also win with its defense on Sunday after going on an offensive onslaught recently in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Averaging 108.3 points in their last three games, the Beermen couldn’t get it going offensively this time as they barely reached the 70-point barrier against the Gin Kings – prompting them to turn to defense to pull off a 72-70 escape act against Barangay Ginebra.

Santos, who recently became the 14th member of the 3,000 defensive rebound club, typified the Beermen's defensive stand with two crucial offensive rebounds that denied the Gin Kings of two extra possessions down the stretch.

“Ang basketball maraming sangkap eh—maraming masasarap na sangkap,” the former league MVP said. “Andyan ang rebound, puntos, depensa, agaw, blocks. Anytime na hindi pumapasok ‘yung tira ko sa labas, sa three point, kaya ayun, nagbawi ako sa depensa at saka sa rebound . Mabuti na lang naging maganda ang resulta.”

Despite missing 10 of his 15 shots, Santos made his presence felt in other areas as he finished with 12 boards, 10 points, two assists, one bock, and one steal in 36 minutes as a starter.  

“Syempre, sa mga ganyang stwasyon, kailangan, bilang player, nababasa mo kung saan ka mag-a-adjust,” Santos said. “Kung di ka nakaka-score sa labas, subukan mo sa loob. Kung malas, subukan mo sa depensa. Dapat ganun, flexible ka dapat.”

Santos believes SMB’s depth and championship experience came to the fore amid an offensive off night as they prevailed even with leading scorer June Mar Fajardo held to single-digit scoring for the first time this conference.

“Yun nga yung nakakatakot sa team namin,” Santos beamed. “Gabby Espinas stepped up. May Yancy de Ocampo.”

“Di yan alam ng teams, kung sino ang kumakamada sa SMB,” he added. “Natutuwa naman ako as captain ball, alam ng bawat isa ang part [nila], kung anong dapat mong gawin, after the game. Ano dapat iadjust, nakukuha namin agad.”

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