Arwind Santos’ non-inclusion in the 17-man national pool by coach Chot Reyes can well be a blessing in disguise for the 6’3″ Petron forward.
Since Santos won’t be part of the Gilas Pilipinas national pool, his mind is now focused on one thing – help Petron win the Commissioner’s Cup with the help of NBA veteran Renaldo Balkman.
The Boosters face the retooled Globalport Batang Pier on Friday’s 7:30 p.m. main game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Santos said they played well as a team in the Queen City of the South. And that augurs well for the team that has underachieved in the season-opening conference.
The Petron double-double machine said they are blessed to have Balkman in the team as their reinforcement because he brings a lot of intangibles to the Boosters’ Commissioner’s Cup campaign.
“Malaki ang magiging contribution niya sa points, rebounds saka sa defense niya. Depensa actually ang pinaka-contribution niya,” Santos said of Balkman.
“Ine-encourage niya rin kami lagi, lalo na kung naghahabol kami. Malaking factor iyan para sa amin,” he added.
With Petron rookie coach Olsen Racela handling the team for his first full conference, Santos is confident they are off for a better showing this conference. Remember, Racela had to split time coaching the Boosters during the Philippine Cup with them team consultant Rajko Toroman, which somehow contributed to Petron’s turbulent start for the PBA’s 38th season.
Now, the former FEU star forward, who led the PBA last conference with 12 double-doubles, promised to worked double time in helping the Boosters achieve their dream – that of leading the winningest professional ball club back to the championship.