MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel veteran Arwind Santos was admittedly upset after their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal game against the TNT KaTropa on Tuesday, as he was involved in a scuffle with TNT guard Jericho Cruz late in the game.
With just 80 seconds to play and San Miguel in firm control, 100-90, Cruz took exception to how Santos bumped him, and retaliated by shoving the veteran forward on their way back down to the other end of the court.
The two had to be separated and Santos was ejected after incurring a second technical foul, while Cruz was given a flagrant foul and finished the game on the bench.
San Miguel went on to win the game, 106-93, to advance to the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
Cruz was upset after the game, insisting that he was justified in his actions as Santos had made a habit of bumping his teammates all throughout the contest.
"Wala akong regrets sa ginawa ko. At least papaano kahit ginawa ko 'yun, alam niya din na may mali din siya, di ba? Hindi lang tayo basta basta na itutulak ng ganoon, na ipu-pushover tayo," the young TNT guard said afterward.
Santos, for his part, said he would much rather forget about the incident.
"Kanina, pagkatapos ng nangyari kanina sa loob, sobrang mainit ang ulo namin pareho. Kahit ako, nandoon talaga 'yung parang gusto mong gumanti," he admitted.
"Pero nagpapasalamat ako dahil meron akong attitude na kailangan kong kalimutan 'yung mga ganoong pangyayari, lalo na sa profession ko," he added.
Santos pointed out that this is not the first time in his long PBA career that he has found himself involved in near skirmishes. But he knows better than to escalate the situation, knowing that his every move is being watched by fans.
"Naisip ko pa rin na in the end, isa kami sa mga pinapanood at hinahangaan ng mga kabataan. Kailangan maging magandang halimbawa kami sa kanila, at isa 'yun sa mga prinsipyo ko," Santos said.
He insists that he holds no ill will against Cruz, and admits that he was partly at fault for the incident.
"Kanina, eto na nasa dugout kami, nag-pray kami, hiningi ko ng patawad 'yung nangyari, and inamin ko na may kasalanan ako at pinapatawad ko si Jericho, kasi ganoon lang talaga. Hindi namin mapipigilan minsan 'yung emosyon namin dahil pareho namin gustong manalo. 'Yun lang 'yun, trabaho lang namin," he said.
Now, Santos just wants to move forward especially now that they have already eliminated TNT – a team that posed a great threat to their hopes of winning a fourth straight All-Filipino crown.
"Tough team sila pero ngayon tapos na eh, tapos na ang trabaho namin sa kanila," said the veteran forward.
San Miguel will play either Ginebra or Rain or Shine in the semifinals.
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