THERE was no championship hangover. This was a loss that finally stung for Arwind Santos and the rest of the San Miguel Beermen.
Exactly three weeks after they ruled the PBA Philippine Cup, the Beermen lost their third straight game in the Commissioner’s Cup at the expense of Blackwater, 80-77, on Wednesday.
This time, Santos felt the pain.
“Nung una tsaka pangalawang talo namin, hindi pa kami nasaktan eh,” said the star forward, the last one to come out of the SMB dugout, taking longer than usual. “Every time na pumapasok ako ng Araneta, naaalala ko pa yung pag-bagsak ng lobo eh kasi kailan lang, tapos hindi namin na-celebrate (ng matagal).
“Pero kanina, naramdaman ko na — nasaktan kami sa pagkatalo sa Blackwater,” he was quick to add. “Sana ito na yung maging springboard namin para bumalik sa taas.”
So frustrated were the Beermen that coach Leo Austria, usually accommodating to scribes, declined to grant an interview after leaving the gloomy dugout abruptly following a short speech, Santos bared.
“Lahat down, pati sila coach Leo nag-walkout, umalis pagkatapos niya magsalita dahil malungkot siya sa nangyari,” Santos said. “Naintindihan namin siya dahil ganun din naman kami.”
Santos said Austria was so ashamed after the Beermen wound up with their worst start to a tournament since the 2007 Fiesta Conference when they started with six straight defeats.
“Ang pinulot ko sa sinabi niya: proud na proud siya dahil nag-champion ang team na ‘to, pero embarrassed siya sa nangyayari sa amin,” he recounted. “Pag nakakaintindi ka, kailangan gumawa ka ng paraan para maging proud ulit ang mga coaches mo sa’yo.
“As a captain, gagawin ko yung part ko para maayos yung team namin,” he added.
As skipper, Santos also gave his piece in the dugout, believing it should be a give-and-take relationship.
“Sinabi ko rin sa mga coaches na sila yung tatay namin eh. Sabi ko mas kailangan namin sila. Pag kunwari may players na pangit ang nilalaro, pagka pinoint-out mo yung mga 'yun, bumababa yung confidence nila.
“Ako, as captain, kailangan protektahan ko yung teammates ko kasi kami 'yung maglalaro eh. Pag pino-point out sila, kailangan mas lalo namin sila damayan, mas lalo kaming buo.”