ARWIND Santos declares now is the time to start winning for San Miguel.
After breaking into the win column of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup over the weekend, Santos and the Beermen seek a fitting follow up to it as they collide with the NLEX Road Warriors in Tuesday’s curtain raiser at the Astrodome.
Parading a new import in AZ Reid, the Beermen dealt league-leader Meralco its first loss of the tournament, 102-86, in Cagayan de Oro City.
Santos said the blowout win is the perfect start for the team to regain its winning tradition after starting the conference with a 0-4 record.
“At least naputol na yung sumpa,” said Santos going to the 4:15 p.m. match against the Road Warriors.
“Malaking bagay siyempre si AZ (Reid) kasi naira-run namin yung plays ng maayos dahil matagal na siyang naglalaro sa PBA,” he added.
Reid, formerly of Rain or Shine, had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists in his debut game for the reigning Philippine Cup champions.
Against NLEX though, the 6-foot-4 Santos said the Beermen cannot worry too much on how to stop NBA veteran Al Thornton, who averages 38 points and 14.5 rebounds in the Road Warriors’ last two outings.
“Di na namin tinitingnan kung malakas or hindi makakalaban namin. basta ang importante sa amin yung target naming maka-anim kami na panalo para makapasok sa playoffs,” he added.
Like the Beermen, the Road Warriors are also losing hope despite carrying the same record as San Miguel.
NLEX is coming off a heartbreaking 98-96 loss to Talk ‘N Text in a game that saw the Road Warriors rallied back from a huge 29-point deficit only to fall short after Jayson Castro knocked the game-winning jumper at the buzzer.
“Sinasabi ko lang naman sa mga players ko na nag-slow start kami against Talk ‘N Text pero pinakita niyo naman na kaya niyo mag-execute nung makahabol tayo from a very big deficit,” said Fernandez.
“So kung nakaya naming makabalik, importante lang is may tiwala kami sa team na kakayanin namin even though San Miguel has a very good import in AZ Reid,” he added.
Fernandez said the biggest load on the defensive end lies on the broad shoulders of veteran slotman Asi Taulava, who, at 42, remains a solid contributor for the team with his 9.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game average this conference.
“Asi’s excited kapag nakakalaban niya si (San Miguel center) June Mar (Fajardo), so now, we just need to find ways to win,” said Fernandez.