ARWIND Santos knows the significance of the Fiba-Asia men’s championships, having represented the country several times in international competitions.
That is why come Wednesday, the Petron Blaze forward promises to bring his A-game even if others see the match between the PBA All-Stars and Gilas Pilipinas as merely an exhibition at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Di kami papatalo, yan yung sigurado. Siyempre, di rin naman nila kami pagbibigyan basta-basta,” said Santos, who tallied 27 points and 13 rebounds as he helped the PBA All-Stars force Gilas to a 124-all stalemate in their May 6 match at the culmination of the All-Star Weekend in Digos City.
Santos said he and Petron teammate Alex Cabagnot are in fine shape now, since they already started training three weeks ago with the team.
“So takbuhan siguro ito (exhibition game). Kami naman ni Alex, okay kami sa takbuhan, kundisyon na kami dahil nagpa-practice na kami. Pukpukan na ito,” he added.
On the other hand, Gilas veteran gunner Larry Fonacier said they intend to sustain the gains the team from a 10-day training camp and tuneup matches in New Zealand.
“We just need to continue our good habits. Keep our level of energy high, develop our chemistry and continue what we started in New Zealand, not regressing in what we do,” said Fonacier.
The game against the All-Stars will be one of Gilas' last two tune-up games before wrapping up its preparation for the Fiba-Asia men’s championships set to start on August 1.
Gilas’ last exhibition game will be on Friday against the Kazakhstan national squad at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.