ATENEO head coach Tab Baldwin had high praises for La Salle big man Santi Santillan, saying the Cebuano forward’s guts and toughness characterize the system of the squad right now.
The Blue Eagles came away with an 81-75 win in overtime over the Green Archers, who were kept in the game by the hardworking Santillan.
Santillan had 19 points and nine rebounds before fouling out in overtime.
“He’s quickly becoming my favorite player in the Philippines,” said Baldwin.
The veteran internationalist noted Santillan’s nose for the ball and his one-handed floater.
“You watch him make offensive rebounds and they’d be spectacular because he moves to where the ball’s gonna rebound,” Baldwin explained.
“He’s obviously mastered this one-hand push-up and it’s unorthodox, to say the least. And so defenders don’t see it coming,” he added. “To defend Santi this year, you’re going to have to be exceptionally rare or else he’s gonna hurt you.”
Getting praises from one of the best coaches in the Philippines, Santillan was naturally elated and he vowed to use this as a motivation.
“Masaya ako syempre champion coach di ba pinupuri ka. More motivation lang [na] kung ano yung Santillan na nilaro ko kanina, ganun pa rin ako,” Santillan said.