ARWIND Santos insisted he was satisfied with his performance in the deciding game of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against San Mig Coffee, where Petron ended up in the wrong end of a 77-87 decision that put an end to what had been a dominant run in the season-ending conference.
“Maganda naman ang performance ko ah. Wala akong sinasabing pangit ang performance ko,” the Boosters superstar said. “In fact, naka-nine attempts naman ako at nag-focus ako dumepensa kay (Marqus) Blakely. Nagkataon lang na nag-step up yung locals nila, especially si (Marc) Pingris. Yung ang tumalo sa amin.”
Three games after receiving the MVP trophy, Santos was limited to just seven points, six boards, two assists, two steals, and one block before fouling out in 39 minutes of play in the most important game of the season.
He also let Blakely, the Mixers’ import, finish with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 13 boards, four steals, three assists, and one block.
After averaging nearly a double-double this season, the 32-year-old do-it-all forward from Angeles City, Pampanga wound up with norms of 8.4 points (41.2-percent shooting) and 3.7 boards, along with two assists and 1.1 steals in 29.6 minutes in seven games of the Finals.
“Hindi lang talaga para sa amin ‘to,” Santos said. “Pero napakabuti ng Diyos. Kailangan lang natin matuto. Kailangan lang natin tandaan na normal sa buhay yung mabigo ka.”
Still, reaching the Finals and a Game Seven was already an achievement, said Santos.
“Yung panghihinayang automatic, pero as a player, sa dami ng gustong pumunta sa lugar na ‘to, at least hindi kami nag-eensayo para sa next conference, hindi kagaya ng iba. Blessed pa rin kami.”
“Kailangan bumangon ka. Mas tumatag ka sa pagbabalik mo,” added Santos, who believes promising rookie teammate June Mar Fajardo would’ve been named Finals MVP had they been crowned champions.
“Si June Mar, good job. Para sa akin siya ang MVP ng Finals. Marami siyang papahirapan. Kailangan lang niyang tandaan na lagi kaming nandito na sumusuporta sa kanya.”
As for himself, Santos is well aware the work doesn’t stop despite already achieving what had been an elusive MVP award.
“Wag tayo maging overconfident o maging relaxed. Kahit alam natin na, nandun na tayo, ako marami pa akong matututunan.”