Pre-Game 7 rituals: Vainglory for Fajardo, love songs for Santos, RnB for Ross
Beermen Chris Ross, Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo and coach Leo Austria bare their pre-game rituals for Game 7 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. Jerome Ascano

IF the rest can already feel the pressure brought by the stakes involved in Game Seven of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals between San Miguel Beer and Alaska, how much more the players participating on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena?

San Miguel Beer stars all have their own ways to cope with the pressure that comes with playing in a winner-take-all, no-tomorrow match that has history at stake.

While their methods differ, all have the same end-goal to get relaxed and get their minds off the pressure-packed game for the meantime.

SMB cornerstone June Mar Fajardo usually plays multiplayer role-playing video games the night before games.

A Defense of the Ancients addict, the reigning league MVP has found a new game in Vainglory.

“Lagi ako naglalaro,” Fajardo said in a short chat with Spin.ph after practice on the eve of the do-or-die match. “Hindi ko muna iniisip yung game.”

To keep him focused hours before the game, the 6-foot-10 slotman will fill his stomach with vegetables, fish, and, bananas.

“Iniisip ko na lang pag before ako matulog tapos before ako aalis (papunta ng venue) kasi baka pag masyado mo iniisip, masyadong maguluhan yung isip mo sa iba,” Fajardo said.

SMB playmaker Chris Ross said he will have “some eggs and chicken tocino” for breakfast on the day of the game.

When he gets to the venue, the Filipino-American guard will listen to RnB music from Trey Songz Musiq Soulchild, Drake, and Future.

“I’m really an RnB guy,” he said.

SMB star forward Arwind Santos, for his part, loves to fill the air with love songs the night before matches.

“Lagi naman akong ganun eh,” the athletic forward, who also a dabbles into singing and songwriting, said, rattling off his newest composition, 'Smoothy Ikaw Na' as well as local favorites “How Did You Know” and “Dahil Mahal na Mahal Kita” as some of the songs in his playlist.

“Syempre yung tugtog hindi parang RnB o rock,” Santos said. “Dapat cool lang para relax ang dating.”

Here's the MTV of Santos' latest composition:

The Pampanga native bared he also turns on his videoke after lunch to rid himself of the pressure.

“Iba kasi yung hindi mo masyado iniisip yung laro,” Santos said. “Minsan kasi pag inisip mo yung laro, kakapitan ka ng konting pressure. Pero dapat hindi ganun. Pag dating mo sa laro, dun mo i-focus yung sarili mo.”

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But his best ritual is going to Baclaran Church with his wife Ivette the night before games. This time, though, he went straight to the national shrine after their practice at nearby MOA Arena.

“Dyan lang 'yung Baclaran, so pupunta kami mag-asawa para hilingin 'yung panalo bukas,” he said.

“Yun yung pinaka panlaban ko.”

It’s not just the players who have rituals. SMB coach Leo Austria has one too – playing cards with his son and nephew on the eve of games.

“Pusoy Dos na walang pusta,” the affable bared. “Pustahan lang ay Chippy, then papabili ako ng drinks, mga siomai habang naglalaro kami.”

“To stimulate yung mind mo,” he added. “Parang relaxation, para kinabukasan, wala ka na masyadong gagawin at ipe-prepare mo na yung gagawin ko, parang plakado na lahat yung mga gagawin mo pag gising mo.”

Let’s find out how their rituals affect their performance on Wednesday night.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos