Initially, defending Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer just wanted to avoid the ignominy of being swept in a best of seven series for the first time in franchise history.
Beermen forward Arwind Santos said this helped them get some motivation in winning Game 4 and prevent the Alaska Aces from closing out the series via a humiliating sweep in their Smart Bro Philippine Cup Best-of-Seven championship showdown.
Even though they got that win which may eventually turn out as a defining moment, depending on the game tonight, Santos revealed they were still on the brink of considering the series as a lost cause.
“Sa practice bagsak na talaga tuka namin. Nasa isip namin wala din naman mangyayari kasi tadtad na din kami,” said Santos “Sila kumpleto sa armas, may kanyon pa sila. Kami paltik na lang.”
“Naisip namin noon na iwasan na lang namin na ma-sweep kami at mapahiya kami sa management at sa mga fans.”
But Santos, who is still regarded as one of the leaders of the star-studded squad, continued to encourage his teammates to have fun regardless of what the ending will be.
The team got a lift not only by winning Game 5 to close the gap to 3-2 but by the fact that hurting center June Mar Fajardo played through pain and made himself available for Game 5.
“Alam kasi namin hindi na siya makakabalik. Maski nung nagbihis siya nung Game 5 alam namin ginawa niya yun para ma-inspire kami,” revealed Santos. “Nung naglaro na tapos unang tira niya pasok, ginanahan na talaga kami. Bago yun, nag-eenjoy na lang kami sa laro pero ngayon, history na ang hinahabol namin.”
No team in the history of basketball has ever come back from a 0-3 hole and eventually win a best-of-seven series and San Miguel is hoping to be that squad to score a monumental first tonight at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
“Isipin mo, kung sa NBA magkaroon ng 0-3, pag-uusapan nila palagi na may nakagawa na makabalik sa ganyang situation, sa PBA na liga sa Pilipinas, San Miguel Beer, kami yun. Kaya ganoon na lang yung desire namin na makuha itong Game 7,” said Santos.
Aside from that achievement, San Miguel is also looking to extend its league record of being the winningest franchise as they have currently pocketed 21 crowns. (DENNIS PRINCIPE)