Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times
Photo by PBA Images


Rookie Santillan matches Abueva’s aggression in huge ROS win

Rookie Santi Santillan showed no fear while going up against star forward Calvin Abueva when hard-nosed teams Rain or Shine and Magnolia battled it out to open Friday’s 2021 PBA Philippine Cup action.

And that was evident in the final minutes of the grind-out affair. With the Elasto Painters down by a point, the fifth overall pick scored off a foul by the ‘Beast’. That completed the three-point play to put his side up, 70-68, with 2:20 to go.

His teammates then made sure to protect the lead afterward, as Beau Belga, Norbert Torres, and Javee Mocon hit the needed baskets. RoS went on to bag the 75-72 victory, which snapped their two-game skid.

For the 25-year-old, there was excitement on his part to go head-to-head with the one-time BPC. Abueva, like him, was also one of the country’s top 3×3 players when Philippine teams utilized PBA cagers in the FIBA 3×3 pro circuit.

“Excited akong makatapat si kuya Calvin,” he told Tiebreaker Times. “Gusto ko talaga ‘yung pagiging aggressive niya on offense and defense.

“Kailangan talaga tapatan mo ‘yung pagiging aggressive niya para makasabay ka.”

Such aggression definitely boded well for him. Aside from matching up well with the 33-year-old, it also led to his best performance as a pro thus far.

A part of the starting unit, the De La Salle product finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field. He also had five rebounds in 25 minutes.

Santillan credited head coach Chris Gavina for giving confidence to young guys like him to play their best whenever called.

2021-pba-philippine-cup-rain-or-shine-vs-magnolia-leonard-santillan Rookie Santillan matches Abueva's aggression in huge ROS win Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

Photo by PBA Images

“Sinabihan kami ni Coach Chris na walang rookie sa team. Kaya ‘yung kumpiyansa ko tumataas,” he said. “Kaya kapag pinasok ako ginagawa ko lang hustle plays – parang wala nang bukas talaga kung maglaro.”

“We don’t have labels with our young guys anymore,” said Gavina, on the other hand.

“All we see are players. I don’t consider them rookies in any way.”

The youthful bench tactician then lauded the contributions provided by his bruising forward that helped Rain or Shine get its fifth win of the meet.

#ReadMore  How Jong Uichico was able to earn Ron Jacobs' trust

“We knew the amount of work ethic he possessed. But his ability to just raise his game up as the games get bigger and bigger has truly shown as the season comes along,” offered Gavina.

“It’s an added luxury on my part to have such a high-potential output kind of player in Santi.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

You May Also Like


Out of the 79 players drafted in the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft, 33 are now headed to free agency. This comes after the five-day...


Rain or Shine secured its top picks in the recent PBA Season 48 Rookie Draft by signing Luis Villegas and Keith Datu to long-term...


Rain or Shine had a successful night on Sunday during the 2023 PBA Draft. Picking third and fourth in the annual showcase, the Elasto...


Rain or Shine has made its first move following the 2023 PBA Draft. The Elasto Painters are trading Henry Galinato to TNT in exchange...


Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao praised not only their own draft selections but also how the entire PBA Season 48 Rookie Draft...


Two NCAA Finals Most Valuable Players dropped to the fourth round. NCAA Season 95 Finals MVP Fran Yu dropped to the 40th pick in...


Two San Beda Red Lions big men were chosen to kick off the third round of the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday at...


Continuing its rebuild for the future, Rain or Shine bolstered its frontline. Luis Villegas was the first of two picks made by the Elasto...