Arwind Santos breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday night, as he was able to redeem himself from a late-game blunder that nearly cost the San Miguel Beermen a victory in Game Four of the 2018 Philippine Cup Finals against the Magnolia Hotshots.
With San Miguel up, 82-80, inside the final 1:12, Santos had a chance to ice the game with a wide-open jumper from the free throw line with nine seconds to go. It is the kind of shot that he usually makes, but that time, his jumper missed.
“Nagulat ako ng kaunti na nalibre ako tsaka yung parang bitaw ko, matigas ng kaunti,” Santos recalled.
But the former league Most Valuable Player managed to emerge as the hero that the Beermen needed after that. He made a key steal from Magnolia’s Mark Barroca, and perfected his charities with 2.2 ticks to go to make it 84-80 and lift San Miguel to the win.
“God is good, sa akin binigay yung dalawang free throws,” said Santos, who finished 13 points and 11 rebounds in Game Four.
“Gusto kong makuha yung panalo nga. Noong nashoot ko yung dalawa, kamay ng Diyos yun.“
What brings more meaning to the former league Most Valuable Player’s game-saving moment is that it brought San Miguel to just a win away from bagging their historic fourth straight All-Filipino championship.
Though they’re now up 3-1 in the series, Santos doesn’t want to be lax as he knows whom they are playing against. But he did not hide his eagerness to finish it all on Game Five this Friday, April 6, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“Thankful ako kasi nakuha na namin yung ikatlong panalo, pero hindi pa rin naaalis sa isipan namin na hindi kami [pwedeng] maging kuntento,” said Santos, who’s averaging 17.5 markers and 7.75 boards in the series.
“Kami, gusto na namin mag-celebrate ng Friday. Gusto na naming magpuyat. Ang tagal na naming ‘di nakakatikim ng alcohol,” the 36-year-old quipped.