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PBA: SMB’s Santos eyes return from surgery

San Miguel Beer forward Arwind Santos is recovering well from a knee surgery, keeping him on track for his return next month to help the team’s s title-retention bid in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

Santos, a league MVP back in 2013, underwent an arthroscopic surgery recently on his left knee to repair damaged tissues after complaining of chronic pain during the build up for the conference.

The 6-foot-4 forward was present in SMB’s win against NLEX last Friday as he cheered the team from behind the bench. After the game, he spoke on his recovery and possible return next month.

“Sana maka-balik next month, medyo maganda naman yung rehabilitation and strengthening program ko,” said Santos, who helped SMB win the Philippine Cup this season.

Santos is averaging nearly 13 points and eight rebounds this season for the Beermen.

Aside from Santos, San Miguel is also missing the services of veteran back up forward Gabby Espinas, who also had the same arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is out for a month.

SMB small forward Chris Lutz is also on the injury list due to muscle imbalance that causes back spasm and is out indefinitely.

Despite the absence of the three, the team has managed to win back-to-back matches to open the season-ending conference following wins against newcomer Phoenix (124-113) and NLEX (94-93).

Reid had 41 points and 10 rebounds in the Beermen’s win against the Fuel Masters, while Marcio Lassiter made the game winning three-pointer in SMB’s victory against the Road Warriors.

San Miguel mentor Leo Austria credited his team for doubling their effort despite their undermanned roster.

“Wala tayo masabi siyempre sa pagsisikap na ginawa ng mga players to start our campaign with two wins. Magandang start para sa amin,” said Austria, who team is aiming a repeat of their success last season when they won two of three conferences by winning the Philippine Cup and Governors’ Cup.

“Of course name-miss namin sina Arwind, Gabby and Chris. Pero ang importante ngayon is for them to have a complete recovery from their injuries. We’ll soon have them back on our team,” added Austria.