MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel veteran Arwind Santos knew he had to play much better after a paltry outing against Blackwater Elite in their game last Wednesday.
Santos managed just four points in that contest, shooting 2-of-9 from the field while grabbing four rebounds. Fortunately for the Beermen, despite Santos' poor performance they still cruised to a 93-79 triumph.
But the former PBA Most Valuable Player would not allow himself to have two bad games in a row.
Against an always dangerous Magnolia team on Sunday night, Santos exploded for 29 points, making 11 of his 17 shots -- including 7 of 11 three-pointers. He had 11 points in the third quarter alone, helping San Miguel pull away once more after the Hotshots had come to within six points.
"Bumawi lang ako," said Santos after the Beermen completed a 113-92 demolition of the Hotshots.
"Talagang nag-double effort ako, dahil nanalo nga kami noong last game namin, pero hindi ako satisfied sa performance ko noon," he admitted.
According to Santos, he spent extra time shooting after that loss -- work that translated on Sunday as he waxed hot from beyond the arc.
With their triumph over the Hotshots, the Beermen have now won back-to-back games and improved to 4-3 in the All-Filipino Cup. Santos believes that returning to their roots is what has led to the successful stretch for their team.
"Kung susumahin mo 'yung team namin ngayon, mararamdaman mo na maganda, dahil 'yung dating first 5, bumabalik," he said, referring to San Miguel's tried-and-tested starting line-up of Santos, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot.
"Nagagawa namin ulit 'yung mga dati naming nagagawa. 'Yun ang nakikita ko," said Santos. "Naibalik namin 'yung dating plays. Maganda 'yung nilalaro namin."
The SMB starters combined for 77 points on Sunday, while Terrence Romeo shored up their bench with a 23-point performance.
Santos is confident that the Beermen can improve even further -- just as soon as they become fully healthy as a team. Like several other PBA squads, San Miguel is also dealing with a spate of the flu -- and nearly half of the team was affected, according to Chris Ross.
"Nag-uusap kami ng mga teammates ko. Sila Marcio, galing sa sakit, si June Mar din," said Santos. "Sobrang viral nga 'yun eh. In fact, 'yung anak ko ding dalawa, may sakit din. Hindi pa kami 100%."
"Buti na lang, thankful kami na nanalo kami," he said.
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