In another Finals series, Arwind Santos had another moment he could call his own.
The former league Most Valuable Player rose to the occasion when the going got tough for the San Miguel Beermen in Game Five of the 2018 Philippine Cup Finals against the Magnolia Hotshots, nailing a cold-blooded trey to send the game into an extra time.
That triple was pivotal to the Beermen’s comeback from 23 points down — a comeback that eventually led to a 108-99 victory over the Hotshots that helped San Miguel’s win its’ historic fourth straight All-Filipino crown.
“Yung mga ganoong shot naman, kahit papaano naka-ready naman tayo sa mga ganoon,” said Santos, who finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks. “Lalo nung situation na iyon. Doon ako nalibre sa spot na yun.
“Hindi namang mabilisang natanggap yung bola. At naibato ko ng maayos ang bola,” the 36-year-old pointed out.
“Dumating na ako sa point na kahit sabihin mong sampu sablay ko sa three-points, titira at titira ako.”
The Beermen’s All-Filipino fourth championship has placed them on the league’s history books once more as the first-ever team to achieve such feat. All in all, under head coach Leo Austria’s watch, they have now won six titles.
The franchise now has a total of 25 titles under their belt, eight of them Philippine Cup crowns.
With yet another feather in their cap, Santos didn’t hide that he and the Beermen are now thinking of establishing a legacy that could tell stories of greatness about their batch, which has dominated since 2015.
“Talaga yung legacy naiisip namin,” Santos said. “Kasi sabi ko nga, yung team namin, wala ka nang hahanapin pa, wala ka nang dadagdagan pa. Maliban doon, maganda ang suporta ng management sa amin.
“Maraming naniniwala na kaya namin,” he added. “Sinusuklian lang namin yung magandang pag-aalaga sa amin. Kaming mga captain ball dito, sina [Chris] Ross, si Alex [Cabagnot], yung legacy, yung mga history, gusto naming kunin eh.
“Alam namin eh. Tinignan namin mga kalaban namin eh. Kayang-kaya. Kahit kung tinitignan mo lineup namin, kahit papaano, hindi naman masama mangarap. So kami nangangarap, at the same time… Pinagtatrabahuhan namin.”
But even if the talk now is of establishing legacies, the 12-year league veteran has yet to buy into the idea that the the current Beermen are now the greatest All-Filipino crew of all time — claiming that time could only tell such.
“Alam mo, ayaw ko munang isipin so far yan,” said Santos, who averaged 16.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks. “Siguro ‘pag nakuha na namin lahat ng mga records, history, siguro pwede kong sabihin. Ako kasi, mahirap pagka tayo mismo ang pumupuna ng mga na-achieve.
“Mas gusto namin na mismong tao mismo magsasabi na hindi, pinaka best na team San Miguel. Dun palang, masayang masaya na kami. Nakakaproud, [lalo] ‘pag naririnig namin yun,” Santos continued.
“Ayaw namin sabihin yun eh. Hindi samin lalabas. Kilala ko yung teammates ko, gusto namin mismo mga writeup, mismo mga tao magsabi na best is San Miguel. Yun lang masayang masaya na kami, na yung dreams namin natupad namin.”