MANILA, Philippines – NorthPort is taking its time on Arwind Santos even as head coach Pido Jarencio underlined his value for their playoff push.
Santos missed his third game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup due to a knee injury, sitting out their skid-snapping 107-94 win over NLEX on Wednesday, November 9.
“His knee still hurts. He said ‘Coach, I still can’t play.’ I told him that if he comes back, he needs to be 100 percent. He can’t be 70 or 80,” Jarencio said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“He needs to be healthy so he can help the team. We need Arwind.”
The veteran forward had not missed a PBA game since the end of the 2019 Governors’ Cup back when he still played for San Miguel before he got sidelined in a loss to Magnolia last October 16.
Santos played just under 10 minutes in a defeat to San Miguel before he sat out again against Rain or Shine as their losing streak stretched to three games.
More than three weeks since his first absence, Santos remains out.
“Only Arwind knows [when he will return] because I thought he was going to play today. I thought he was going to join our last two practices but he didn’t attend them,” Jarencio said.
“He said he’s still unfit to play. Let’s see.”
Despite being one of the oldest players in the league, the 41-year-old Santos has proven he has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Last season, he earned his third Defensive Player of the Year honors and made both the Mythical First Team and All-Defensive Team.
This conference, Santos averages respectable numbers of 9.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals.
Santos’ immediate return will be crucial as NorthPort (4-5) seeks to win its last three games in the elimination round to boost it playoff bid, starting with Terrafirma on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. – Rappler.com