Speak out: Santos’s journey to PBA MVP-A A +A
Monday, October 21, 2013
“SANA po na-inspire ko po ang mga tao na kahit galing sa hirap, may chance manalo ng MVP.” This was Petron Blaze Boosters’ Arwind Santos’ short but substantial acceptance speech after he was awarded the 2013 PBA Most Valuable Player trophy, his first after three runner-up finishes. As a long-time fan of The Spiderman, I know very well what he was talking about, the story behind it.
You see, Arwind’s life wasn’t as easy as the way he fills up the stat sheets. I remember the lanky forward saying in one interview, “Ang basketball sa akin walang pressure. Maglalaro ka lang naman, ibibigay mo lang iyong best mo. Ang pressure ay ang makakain ka ng tatlong beses sa isang araw.”
He was basically implying that his responsibilities as the star player are nothing compared to the things he had to do to fulfill his role as breadwinner at a young age before his basketball prowess brought him to where he is right now. The former King Tamaraw had to drive pedicabs, distribute newspapers, collect metal scraps and sell macopas to help his family get by. Winning bets by playing basketball also gave him something to bring home. And as it turned out, the game proved to be the key for his family to get through poverty.
Santos was eventually discovered and got recruited by Far Eastern University, a team which he led to three titles in his five years there. He pretty much had a highly decorated amateur career in the UAAP and the PBL with awards and championships to show for it. And now, in the pros, the trend seems to continue because the accolades just keep on coming.
Arwind’s an all-around player and he puts up ridiculous numbers almost every game.
Everything he has achieved, he has earned. I think all the hard-work we see him do on the court is sharpened by what he did off it. Simply put, he was used to the grind.
The title of an article I’ve read about him years ago perfectly sums up Arwind’s journey: “From Hardknocks to Hardcourt Hero.” With his rags to riches life story and the way he has handled himself throughout, I don’t think he will ever have a problem inspiring anyone.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 22, 2013.