Despite missing 3 key players in their Easter Sunday game, the San Miguel Beermen poured their hearts out and offered their win over Star Hotshots to grieving teammate Arwind Santos.
“This game is dedicated to Arwind (Santos),” said head coach Leo Austria, after the Beermen returned to their winning ways with a 117-98 rout of Star that tightened their grip of solo 2nd spot.
Santos lost his mom last week due to respiratory complications, and has been absent since in the Beermen’s practices.
Also missing back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo (swollen knee) and explosive guard Tubid (knee contusion), the Beermen went out and displayed brilliance throughout the game, something they talked about prior to the game to show support for Santos.
“We had so much fight and we just want to pour our hearts out for him cause he is going through a hard time and what better ways to give all what we’ve got,” said Lassiter, who fired 25 points, 18 points beyond the arc. “We are really for him, we just wanna say we love him and as a family, we just wanna say this game is for him, his mom, his family,” said the Beermen sniper.
Chris Ross shared the same sentiment, while adding the win is also for Santos’ mom who has been an avid supporter of his son’s team.
“Obviously, we want to win to kind of help him. Put a smile on his face because this is his life, as well as his mom, she is one of our biggest fans,” added Ross. Ross also shared that Santos has been keeping in touch with the team despite the situation.
“He (Santos) actually called me last night, asking how the team is going, hoping everyone is okay,” said Ross. “He just want to make sure the team is still strong.” “I told him ‘we’ll be fine and we’ll take care of business, take care of your family, stay there as long as you want, we all understand what is going through and we’ll take care of the basketball’,” narrated the 2016 Philippine Cup Finals MVP.
Ross believes that these tough times strengthen their brotherhood bond, adding that he and Alex Cabagnot also lost their respective grandparents in the past months.
“We’re such a family here. Of course winning helps, but we really care of each other. Tragedy brings us together,” he shared. As the playoff nears, Austria hopes Santos can rejoin the team next week as they try to chase the top spot of the Commissioner’s Cup. “We want to support kung ano mang meron siyang nararamdaman ngayon, but I’m sure next week he will be with us,” said Austria. – By Jason Mercene
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