From a highly-physical series to a bloody encounter.
That’s what Game 2 of the Philippine Cup best-of-seven championship series between San Miguel Beer and Alaska has become. Former PBA Most Valuable Player Arwind Santos best personified the role of a true warrior. Despite suffering a nasty cut above the forehead, Santos kept his composure throughout the game, finishing with 22 points as he got the better of the matchup with his kumpare and fellow Cabalen, Calvin Abueva.
Things got ugly in the second half when Abueva went up for a shot and landed an elbow to the head of Santos. Because of the impact of the fall, Santos suffered a cut and it bled profusely. He had to be replaced immediately. But the two were not through with it as they were exchanging invectives during the game.
“Hindi ko na sasabihin kung ano yung sinabi ko kay Calvin kasi hindi rin maganda pakinggan, pero nagsisimula pa lang ang laban,” said Santos.
The 6-foot-4 King Tamaraw said that he’s not taking this war personally.
“Sa Pampanga, pustahan laban doon tapos hindi lang dugo ang lumalabas,” said Santos. “Kung sinong mas maglalaro nang may utak, ito yung may bentahe sa series.”
Santos kept his wits throughout the game. Abueva didn’t. The Alaska forward was visibly affected by the mind games and the psychological warfare happening in this highly-physical encounter. He was scoreless in the fourth period and was hardly a factor when needed.
Abueva’s reliever, Vic Manuel, failed to keep his temper in check as well. He was assessed with a flagrant foul penalty 1 for strangling rookie David Semerad with a forearm.
Semerad, according to head coach Leo Austria, played a special role in the series. “We want him to match the energy of Abueva and he did more than that,” added Austria.
For Semerad, it’s all about having fun playing in the championship round and he’s more than willing to do the dirty work.
“Everyone is expected to step up and contribute. You do whatever it takes to win and help your team,” he added. “It’s rough and it’s tough, but I’m having fun.”