Arwind Santos glad to fill huge void left by hurting June Mar Fajardo
Arwind Santos carried the load for SMB in the win over GlobalPort. Jaime Campos

ARWIND Santos came fully armed for San Miguel Beer’s PBA Governors Cup game against Globalport Friday night with big man June Mar Fajardo not yet fully recovered from his calf injury.

The veteran forward fired 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and came through with five block shots in the team’s 115-112 victory at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

He went 10-of-15 from the field, including 7-of-9 from three-point range.

Santos said he needed to step up his game with the 6-foot-10 Fajardo still bothered by a strained calf he suffered in a 97-91 win over TnT Katropa three weeks ago.

“Si June Mar hindi pa kasi totally naglalaro ng mahaba,” he said of his three-time MVP teammate, who was only fielded in for seven minutes by coach Leo Austria and finished with four points.

Austria added Santos appeared ready to take over knowing Fajardo is not yet 100 percent healthy.

“Arwind is really practicing very well the past four days because alam niya June Mar will not play that long,” said Austria.

[See SMB shakes off rust just in time to frustrate GlobalPort]

In a way, the long three-week break also benefited the team, according to Santos.

“Natigang kami sa tagal naming na walang laro,” said the 36-year-old native of Pampanga. “Minsan masasabi mo na napaganda ba sa amin yung bakasyon namin o napasama? At least napaganda kasi makikita mo yung performance namin nandoon.”

Import Wendell McKines was also a heavy contributor with a team-high 35 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, Alex Cabgnot added 27 and was 4-of-8 from three-point range, while Marci Lassiter had 10.

Chris Ross was scoreless in 39 minutes, but came through with seven assists and six out of the total 14 steals by the Beermen, who improved to 3-1 overall.

But Santos isn’t about to take anything away for Globalport (2-3), which led by as many as 57-45 only to lose control of the game late in the third period.

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“Knowing Globalport naman, marami silang go-to guys diyan na kapag hinayaan mo at hindi mo nirespeto, talagang puputok at may kakayahang talunin kami talaga,” he said.

“Mabuti na lang naayos namin yung depensa (namin) at nakadikit kami bago matapos yung third quarter.”

Santos is looking to have a huge follow-up to his second best scoring output this season as the Beermen are set to return to the court this Sunday against NLEX.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos