Veteran knows: Arwind shakes off shooting struggles, hits big triple again to bail out SMB

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Veterans, even when struggling, know when to show up to lift his team to victory.

That’s what versatile forward Arwind Santos proved on Monday as he mirrored Jayson Castro’s act at the other semifinals series to provide the crucial boost to San Miguel Beer’s drive to survive Star in Game 2 on Monday night.

Scoreless until the final canto, Santos banged in a booming triple off a dish from Chris Ross to tally his first and only field goal, and most importantly, give the Beermen a 3-point lead entering the last two minute –which proved to be the deciding factor as Star cracked down the stretch.

That was reminiscent of the TNT star guard’s situation on Sunday as he struggled all-game long only to deliver the dagger triple against Ginebra.

“Oo parang ganun nga, napanood ko yung laro nila,” said Santos.

For Santos, hitting that big shot sent him down memory lane, as he compared it to his clutch triple to save Petron in Game 7 of the 2015 Philippine Cup against rival Alaska.

“Siyempre, di ko pa rin makalimutan, parang kailan lang, yung inisip ko nun yung tres na nagpa-champion sa amin against Alaska, kamay ng Diyos yun sabi ko nga,” he said.

The 1-time MVP was struggling all game long on 0-of-5 shooting when the Hotshots made a huge second half comeback but it did not discourage him a bit to hit a big time triple.

“Di nawala yung focus ko kahit alam kong wala akong contribution sa points nung time na yun,” added Santos. “Kumbaga mentality ko yun, kahit ilang sablay na ako, pag dumating sa point na open ako, ititira ko yun. Na-open ako, tapos shot clock winding down pa.”

But the 10-year veteran, who turned 36 last Saturday, also took pride of providing ample defensive stance on Star’s last-gasp attempt to steal the win with Paul Lee’s floater went short.

“Tapos nung huli pa naka-stop kami tapos si Paul Lee nailang ko sa gitna, kundi baka na-shoot pa yun, sayang yung three points ko,” he said.

Santos could only heaved a sigh of relief with the series now a virtual best-of-three.

“Sobrang laking bagay na na-tie mo yung series, lalo na best of five, kapag naunahan ka ng dalawa, parang ang lapit na nila sa finish line nun pag naka 2-0 na,” he said.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH