PBA: Arwind Santos says tough loss not something NorthPort should dwell on

NorthPort’s Arwind Santos. –PBA IMAGES

On the line with 27 seconds remaining in the game and with a chance to put NorthPort ahead, Kevin Ferrer muffed two free throws.

Those miscues directly affected NorthPort’s bid to stay in the early lead of the PBA Philippine Cup, as Magnolia took advantage later when Rome dela Rosa made the decisive triple that keyed an 80-77 victory for the Timplados on Wednesday.

Arwind Santos, however, did not dwell on those misses.

“If we were to choose anyone [from our team] to take those free throws, it would be him,” the veteran NorthPort forward said.

“I told (Kevin) that everything was fine,” added Santos, the 2013 league Most Valuable Player. “I told him, his mistake was everyone’s … that he can’t pin the blame on himself [and] that he should not think that the world has collapsed on him. We believe in him. I know that next game, we will recover.”

Santos has been everything for the Batang Pier. Scoring option. Locker room presence. Rebounder. Defender. Cheerleader.

He is also the one who refuses to let NorthPort dwell too much on the team’s first loss in three games in the tournament.

“The game was not meant for us. But at the same time, we showed that we were capable of really battling. We showed everyone watching, the PBA fans, that NorthPort could’ve won,” he said.

NorthPort actually found itself staring at holes as deep as 17 points. It managed to right the ship in the final frame and even give itself a chance at prevailing in the dying moments of the game.

“Seventeen points behind and we were able to catch up, and then we managed to take the lead? That’s the best point for me,” he said. “There’s really nothing impossible if we put our mind to it.”

“We had a lot of chances (to win the game) as well—free throws and the last shot that we weren’t able to make. But it is what it is,” he added.

At the forefront of that fightback were Jamie Malonzo and Roi Sumang who finished with 15 points each. Santos, who is set to be awarded by the PBA Press Corps as Defensive Player of the Year, led the way with 18 points and 12 rebounds spiked with a pair of blocks and a steal.

“That’s what we’re going to draw from this game—that somehow we did that,” he said. “Rather than focusing on the negatives, we can just draw this positive so we’d be ready [for the next game].”

NorthPort, now 2-1, will have a chance to get back in the win column when it plays Blackwater this Saturday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.

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