The Spiderman bounces back: Santos overwhelmed by support
MANILA, Philippines – Arwind Santos came out of the Petron locker room in Game Six with a renewed confidence.
It was almost an hour before the tip-off when Santos practiced his jumpers before posing for obligatory snapshots with his adoring fans that stayed true to him in the most trying times of his PBA career.
“Kahit anumang mangyari ngayong Game Six, basta nandyan ang mga kaibigan ko, ang mga mahal ko sa buhay at mga fans,” Santos told Philstar.com before heading back to the locker room.
The tears from Sunday night’s ‘emotional’ locker room interview no longer there. The man they call in the PBA as Spiderman was poised for a big bounce back.
And bounce back he did.
In the first two possessions of Game Six, he forced Best Import Marqus Blakely to miss a drive then drilled in a mid-range jumper on the other end.
The Spiderman was back.
Santos churned out his best game in the Finals, two games after being named the Most Valuable Player in the PBA for the first time in his career.
Read related story: Santos asks for support, trust after un-MVP-like Game 5
He wound up with 12 points, none bigger than the four points he contributed in a 10-2 run in the third quarter to bring the lead back to 71-61 after the San Mig Coffee Mixers threatened at 61-59.
Santos added six boards, six assists and two steals in an all-around game that was worthy of the MVP and the Best Player of the Conference accolades he got.
But more than personal redemption, Santos gave the Boosters a shot at the title they won two seasons ago with the 99-88 victory Wednesday night.
“I think Arwind gave us a tremendous lift tonight [Wednesday]. I’ve been saying this he’s one of the reasons why we reached the finals. We have 100 percent confidence in him. I know that he could help this team,” Petron rookie coach Gee Abanilla told reporters after the game. “Hats off to Arwind for playing good game today.”
It also helped that the two-time MVP Danny Ildefonso shared his valuable experiences in handling success.
“I asked Danny I. to share his wealth of experience to Arwind,” Abanilla told Philstar.com.
“Sinabi ko lang naman na kalimutan na niya yung [MVP] award. Huwag na niya isipin yun, ang isipin niya itong team naman niya. Hindi naman niya kailangang umiskor ng malaki, basta gawin lang niya yung mga bagay na makakatulong sa team,” Ildefonso said.
The mood in the locker room after Game Six was the exact opposite of Sunday night’s drama.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng nagdasal sa akin, sa lahat ng nagtiwala, sa lahat ng mga fans, management, sa mga teammates ko,” Santos told reporters that swarmed him after the game. “Natuwa ako dahil doon ko nakita na hindi ako nag-iisa.”
“Hindi na importante kung ano man yung mga pinag-daanan ko before, kailangan naming harapin yung laro sa Friday. Sa Game Seven, pukpukan yan, ang bumigay talo.”