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Player of the Week April 27 to May 3

WHEN Arwind Santos' mind is free of worries, he can be the great player he is destined to be.

No less than Burger King coach Yeng Guiao made this reiteration after seeing his do-it-all forward ratchet up his game following reassurances some of his worries are unfounded.

As a result, Santos was named the Motolite/Accel-PBA Press Corps’ Player of the Week for the period April 27 to May 3 after playing a key role in the Whoppers' back-to-back wins in the week that was.

It was the Far Eastern U alum's second such citation after being previously cited March 16 to 22. Like in the first one, his concrete numbers – 26.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and as many assists – tell the tale.

“Malaking pasasalamat talaga kay God at sa lahat ng mga tumutulong, lalo na sa management, kay coach Yeng (Guiao) at sa mga teammates ko,” Santos said. “Kasi ini-encourage nila ako na kailangan nila ako, kailangan ako ng team. Nakaka-inspire kaya ibinabalik ko rin sa kanila.”

Few knew it took some motivational sit-ins with Guiao, also Santos' national team coach, before he could bounce back from a season low-tying 5-point performance in the Whoppers' last game before the All-Star break, a 94-100 loss to Barangay Ginebra on April 20.

“Natinag kasi ako nu'ng na-trade sila Cyrus, Celino at Homer,” related Santos, referring to the deals that sent Baguio and Se to the Kings and Cruz to Purefoods.

“Kagagaling lang kasi namin sa team building nu'n kaya talagang na-shock kami at tuloy nagkaroon ako ng mga misgivings, like 'Saan ba talaga papunta ang team na ito?' ”
Those questions were readily put to rest by Guiao.

“Ang advise ko lang sa kanya, 'You have to do good in whatever situation you're in,'” bared Guiao.

“Si Arwind kasi napaka-talented and very capable of winning the MVP award, but that's too far off,” Guiao added. “Sometimes that and other distractions can add pressure on one's self and I also pointed that out to him. “Iyun naman, nakapag-adjust siya and I think he now realizes that any individual accomplishment should complement the team's objective.”

Santos showed that first by racking up 22 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in a 99-89 win over Barako Bull last April 30, ending Burger King's three-game losing streak.

He followed that up with a game-high 31 points (one shy of his career-best), six rebounds, four assists and a block in a 106-88 win over Alaska last Sunday as the Whoppers slid into a tie for fourth-running spot with Rain or Shine with a 6-5 win-loss record overall.

Those performances merely bolstered Guiao's belief that more individual plums are coming Santos' way. “Most definitely, Arwind's headed in the right direction,” the mentor stated.

Consequently, so is Burger King. (NCo)
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