Criticized by fans for falling in love with three-pointers, Arwind Santos silenced his detractors by putting on a heroic performance in the do-or-die Game 7 championship match between San Miguel Beer and Alaska.
The Beermen squandered a 23-point second quarter lead and had to fight back from six points down in the closing minutes of the final period. Thankfully, they had the veteran forward Santos on their side.
Santos nailed a cold-blooded three-pointer in the last 43 seconds which proved to be the turning point and averted the Beermen’s collapse. He finished with 22 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
The former league Most Valuable Player was often criticized by fans and haters of the squad for taking excessive three-pointers in the series.
In the first six games, Santos had taken 54 attempts and made 14 of them. That total number of three-pointers could have been the total attempted by an entire team playing for seven games.
A lot of people thought the 6-foot-4 Santos should have opted to give the ball more to 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, back-to-back Philippine Cup BPC winner and leader in points, field goal shooting and rebounds. But Santos had his reasons.
“Every time na binibitawan ko yung mga tira na yun, sinisigurado ko na hindi yun tirang takot,” he said.
He validated his point in the most important game of the conference as he hit the game winner.
With his heroic performance, Santos was named the undisputed Finals MVP.