Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone has admitted before that he would not want to face the San Miguel Beermen in the quarterfinals of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, as he’s wary of how dangerous that team could be.
Arwind Santos has learned about what Cone has said. And for the outspoken Beermen star, the feeling is mutual.
“Kami rin ayaw din namin sila makaharap. Balanced lang,” said Santos, Wednesday night after San Miguel handed the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters a 128-108 beating.
“Hangga’t maaari kung maghaharap kami, sana sa Finals na.”
A lot could still happen heading to the playoffs, given the tight race among the teams currently ranked from third to eighth. And one of the possibilities is a best-of-three clash between the Beermen and the defending champions.
But Santos isn’t really thinking much of who will they face once the dust settles. All that he and San Miguel care about now is reaching their goal of making it into the Top Six — which means they won’t be in a twice-to-beat disadvantage.
And the Beermen have given themselves another good chance of attaining such with their big win over the Fuel Masters, as it marked their second straight win — their first-ever winning streak in this joust — and hiked their card to 4-5.
“Ayun yung target namin. Kasi ang laki ng pagkakaiba doon sa seven and eight kasi kailangan mong talunin ng dalawang beses yung one and two kahit sabihin natin na mananalo ka ng isa, pero pangalawa hindi mo masabi.
“Mas maganda pa rin yung best-of-three, nandodoon kami, kung sino man makakatapat namin doon, kumpiyansa pa rin kami na makukuha namin yun. One game at a time lang,” said the former league Most Valuable Player.
Still, San Miguel would need to sweep their two remaining games to get to where they want to be. It will be challenging, though, as they will be facing Rain or Shine Elasto Painters this Saturday and the Magnolia Hotshots next Wednesday.
Santos, however, is confident of their chances, as he believes that everything is now falling into place for them.
“Ang maganda nito, nakaka-catch up na kami tapos may import pa kami na maganda yung ipinapakita. Timing talaga,” said Santos, as new import Chris McCullough has averaged 42.0 points in his first two games with San Miguel.
“Tingin ko itong mga natitirang games namin, pagbutihan lang namin, ‘wag lang kaming mawawala sa ginagawa namin, mame-maintain namin ito hanggang doon sa dulo. Magugulat na lang kami nandodoon na kami sa Finals.”