HIS closest pursuers for the season MVP award are falling by the wayside one by one, but Petron star forward Arwind Santos would rather not dwell on winning the coveted individual trophy and instead focus on guiding the Boosters to a championship in the PBA Governors Cup.
Bagging the MVP award would be a blessing, Santos acknowledged, although at the moment his attention is on Petron’s semifinal series against defending champion Rain or Shine that starts on Monday.
“Di ko naman iniisip yun (MVP) eh. Mas naka-focus kami sa goal ng team,” said Santos shortly after the Boosters advanced to the semifinals for the first time this season with a 101-94 win over Barangay Ginebra in their quarterfinal playoff on Thursday night.
“Kapag individual awards na ganyan, stay lang ako, di ako nag-e-expect ng sobra. Kung ano dumating, tanggapin natin, kung ano para sa atin,” added the lanky forward out of Far Eastern University largely considered as the best player in the league never to win an MVP award.
Santos currently leads the statistical race for the MVP award, with strong rivals such as LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa, Jason Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Solomon Mercado expected to fade out of contention following their teams' failure to go deep in the playoffs.
As things stand now, rookie Calvin Abueva remains Santos’ biggest challenger for the award, although the Alaska freshman appeared to have slowed down a bit in the season-ending conference.
But as he stressed, Santos said he’d rather focus on guiding the Boosters to a possible Finals stint.
Petron has been on a roll since losing its first game on opening day against Meralco. The Boosters are on a nine-game winning run entering the best-of-five semis against the Elasto Painters.
“Sana magpatuloy lang kami mag-improve kasi possible na magtuloy-tuloy `yung win streak namin kung ganun,” said the 6-foot-4 Santos, who logged 18 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks in Petron’s win over Ginebra.
But Santos admitted the Boosters’ winning streak and championship bid will be put to a serious test against the reigning champions.
Since the series is a short race-to-three-wins campaign, the high-leaping forward said the Boosters need to play with a greater sense of urgency for momentum to swing to their side.
“Di kami dapat magpabaya sa Rain or Shine kasi ang series maikli lang eh. So kailangan mauna kami,” noted the 32-year-old many time All-Defensive team member, who averages 13.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks this conference.