Santos says SMB won’t relax vs dangerous Mahindra

Despite experiencing tightness on his legs the past week, veteran San Miguel Beer forward Arwind Santos said he intends to play this Saturday when they see action for the first time in the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup against Mahindra in Binan, Laguna.

Over 2 weeks ago, the Beermen celebrated their 3rd PBA championship in 4 conferences following their historic comeback from a 0-3 deficit to beat the Alaska Aces in the Philippine Cup Finals.

The 6-foot-4 Santos said physically, everyone’s tired after going through 2 tight playoff series in the all-Filipino conference, which included a bruising 4-2 semis series win over Rain or Shine.

Read: For Arwind Santos, winning Grand Slam is easier said than done

But they are not just going to take it easy against an unpredictable Enforcers squad.

“Yung mindset naman namin nandun, saka nandun din yung pagiging tiger namin. Kailangan lang talagang ma-handle namin ng maayos yung unang game dahil maiksi din lang time namin to prepare,” Santos told FOX Sports on the eve of the Beermen’s first game this conference.

Mahindra, then known as KIA, shocked San Miguel in the 2 import conferences last season.

The Enforcers subdued the Beermen, 88-78 in the Commissioner’s Cup, before dealing the league’s winningest ball club with an 83-78 humiliation in the Governors Cup.

Read: Austria warns Beermen of another championship hangover

Mahindra split its first 2 games this conference with a shock 111-98 win over GlobalPort, before falling to Blackwater, 110-102.

Still, the Enforcers have the personnel to keep up with a stacked-up Beermen behind local gunner Nino Canaleta, LA Revilla, Aldrech Ramos and Karl Dehesa.

The four have been ably supporting NBA D-League veteran Augustus Gilchrist, who leads the team with 22.0 points and 10.5 rebounds.

San Miguel will be parading Tyler Wilkerson as its import for the second conference.

Read: Will Augustus Gilchrist be next monster Mahindra import?

A college teammate of Chris Lutz at Marshall University, the 27-year-old American has decent outside shooting and can mix it up inside.

The 240-pound Wilkerson is fresh from a stint with the Hang Sen Guayzhou in China’s NBL, submitting solid numbers of 35.1 points and 15.3 rebounds per contest.

Wilkerson, who also had overseas stints in Israel and Puert Rico, also logged in per-game average of 17.9 points in South Korea.

He also played for the Austin Toros in the 2013 NBA D-League season, where he had norms of 12.1 points and 7.8 rebounds in 36 games. – Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava

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