MANILA, Philippines – From jeers to cheers.
That's how San Miguel's Arwind Santos processes the animosity he receives from Barangay Ginebra’s legion of fans.
The former league Most Valuable Player has been the subject of ire of the Gin Kings faithful following his ejection in the Beermen's 134-109 Game 2 win in the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.
Santos was tossed out after lowering his shoulder against Scottie Thompson, who curled up on the floor in pain.
The hostility towards Santos did not stop in Game 3 as he was heavily booed every time he touched the ball since he came off the bench.
Some fans threw expletives at him, while some called him names.
But the 37-year-old veteran does not seem to mind how the opponent's fans treat him.
"Baliktad lang 'yung acceptance ko doon. Feeling ko fans sila ng San Miguel pag hinahawakan ko 'yung bola – na bilib na bilib sila sa akin. Parang ganoon lang 'yun," Santos told reporters.
(I just think of the opposite. I feel like they are San Miguel fans and every time I touch the ball, they are in awe of watching me play.)
"'Di ko iniintindi na galit na galit sila, 'yung pag-boo nila sa akin. Feeling ko 'yung boo nila, automatic for me is 'I love you.'"
(I neither mind their anger towards me nor their boos. For me, their boos mean "I love you.")
San Miguel’s Arwind Santos does not mind the intense booing he receives from thousands of Ginebra fans in the #PBA2018 Commissioner’s Cup finals. | @dioquinodelfin pic.twitter.com/Q5rnxembk2 — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) August 1, 2018
Santos had the last laugh as San Miguel demolished Ginebra by 38 points to claim a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-7 affair.
He finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and a block and recorded a plus-minus of +23 in the romp.
"Focused lang ako sa game namin dahil napakaimportante ng conference na ito para sa amin. Kung may naiinis man sa akin, isa lang ang gagawin ko: pray. 'Yun lang," he added.
(I'm just focused on the game because this is a very important conference for us. If there are people who despise me, I will only do one thing: pray. That's it.)
Santos and San Miguel seek for a commanding 3-1 lead when they meet the Gin Kings in Game 4 on Friday, August 3, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.