RENEWED team chemistry is what's fuelling Petron Blaze's impressure run in the PBA Governors Cup, said many-time All-Star Arwind Santos.
The Boosters ended their elimination round on a hot streak, winning eight successive games after losing their opening-day match against Meralco to clinch the top seeding heading into the playoffs.
They ended their elimination-round campaign with an average winning margin of 14.5 points - a big turnaround for a team that finished 14-17 in the season's first two conferences under Rajko Toroman and Olsen Racela.
So what has been the major difference for the Boosters?
More than anything else, Santos said new coach Gee Abanilla has put a premium on team chemistry, so much so that he talks to the players one by one to address concerns and makes it a point that the whole team eat together after games and practices.
“Sa tingin ko ngayon, matibay na ang chemistry ng team. Malaking tulong din kasi yung one-on-one talk namin ni coach Gee para maipaliwanag sa amin yung mga roles namin,” the 6-foot-4 Santos told Spin.ph on Tuesday.
“Saka kumakain kami together as a team.”
Santos said the Boosters’ 8-1 record is no doubt, a product of hard work and intense focus of the team after a rather forgettable start to the season.
“Ngayon mas importante sa team `yung maging humble lang at huwag maging overconfident,” said the former Far Eastern University star.
“Yung nagawa namin sa eliminations, masasabi kong parang investment. Nakapag-invest na kami ng maaga and sana, pagdating sa dulo, aanihin na lang namin,” added Santos, referring to the team’s dream of finishing the season with a championship and end the franchise’s two-year title drought.
The way Petron has been playing, the team’s struggles the past two conferences seem like a distant memory.
“Actually, maraming nagsasabi, isang tingin sa team namin, malakas talaga. Kaya lang nung nakaraang mga conferences, hirap kaming manalo,” said Santos.
“Pero ginagawa lahat ni coach Gee para mabuo kami, hindi `yung may samaan ng loob.”