SANTI Santillan has always been inspired by the life story of Marc Pingris.
After all, the struggles of the Magnolia forward almost mirrors the life he's had in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
"Nakaka-relate ako sa story niya na walang-wala sila dati pero dahil sa basketball, may pangkain na siya para sa pamilya niya," the Cebuano aspirant said.
Pingris' influence in Santillan shows in his game. Despite being undersized at 6-foot-4, he's as hardworking as they come as seen in his collegiate career with University of the Visayas and La Salle.
He continued to show his toughness in his stops with Marinerong Pilipino in the PBA D-League, with Zamboanga Family's Brand Sardines in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), and in Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3.
Teaming up with Pingris in Magnolia will just be the realization of a dream for Santillan.
"Kaya gusto kong team ang Magnolia dahil nandoon yung idol ko at gusto ko siyang maging kakampi," he said, hopeful that he falls into the laps of the Hotshots, who hold the No. 6 pick in the first round.
But whatever team picks him, Santillan is just filled with gratitude as he achieves his lifelong aspirations of making it to the pro league after finally submitting his application for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.
"Malapit na ako sa pangarap ko na makapag-PBA," he said.
"Nanonood lang ako ng PBA dati sa probinsya at iniisip ko na one day, isa ako sa mga player na makakapunta dyan at papanoorin ng mga tao. Pag nakuha ako, masasabi ko nang may PBA player na sa barangay namin kaya talagang excited na ako."
For more PBA updates, click here.