Arwind Santos’ goal is simple: help the San Miguel Beermen win its fifth consecutive PBA Philippine Cup title.
The PBA Season 38 MVP bared how much he would love to attain that moment after SMB booked its fifth straight All-Filipino Finals trip by beating Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters, 105-94, in Game Five of the semifinals Thursday night.
“Dito kami masusubukan, dito namin mapapakita kung talagang kami yung best team. Kahit patay na kami, ‘pag nakuha namin yung pang-limang championship, paguusapan at paguusapan yan,” Santos said.
“Sino lang nakagawa nito? San Miguel. Legacy. Ayaw namin bitawan eh, lahat naman ng players gusto nasa sitwasyon na ganito. Sana kami yung una.”
San Miguel’s fifth straight Philippine Cup Finals appearance has now become the second-longest streak behind Purefoods, who had made it into the All-Filipino title bout in their first seven seasons in the league, from 1988 to 1994.
Moreover, nobody in the previous batches of Beermen had been able to accomplish what the current team has done in the All-Filipino setting.
The odds are in favor of SMB yet again as they have beaten gutsy teams in this playoffs — they defeated the third-seeded TNT in a best-of-three quarters series that went over the limit before finishing a physical Phoenix side this semis.
Santos is thankful for the lessons the Beermen have gotten in facing those teams, but he was quick to caution that it won’t be easy in the Finals, where they will face either Rain or Shine or their Finals foes last season in Magnolia.
“Sobrang nakatulong sa’min, sana magamit namin no? Hindi sa pangit na paraan, sa magandang paraan. Sabi nga ng mga coaches namin, nalagpasan namin TNT at Phoenix, parang kayang-kaya na namin yung Finals,” the seven-time champion shared.
“Pero itong next step namin going sa championship, iniisip pa rin namin na hindi madali,” Santos said. “Yun ang mahirap eh, minsan pag nalagpasan mo na yung mga malakas na team, feeling mo kayang-kaya mo na,” he continued.
“Hindi dapat ganun mentality namin, alam namin na dapat namin respetuhin at paghandaan kung sino makakalaban namin. Kailangan wag kami magpabaya.”