PBA Philippine Cup

Unbeaten San Miguel gifts Arwind Santos not only jersey retirement but also win

Delfin Dioquino

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Unbeaten San Miguel gifts Arwind Santos not only jersey retirement but also win

SPARK. Don Trollano in action for the San Miguel Beermen in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

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San Miguel stamps its class on Blackwater to stay perfect in the PBA Philippine Cup as it gifts Arwind Santos a win on top of his well-deserved jersey retirement

MANILA, Philippines – Undefeated in the PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel knew it would have been anticlimactic had it lost on the same day one of its greatest players got a recognition of a lifetime.

And so, the Beermen stamped their class on struggling Blackwater, 124-109, at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, May 1, to gift Arwind Santos a win on top of his well-deserved jersey retirement.

San Miguel honored Santos at halftime and retired his No. 29 jersey, which he used throughout his 12-year stint with the Beermen that saw him help the franchise win nine championships. 

“I just told them to play for Arwind, let us not ruin his night by losing today,” said San Miguel head coach Jorge Gallent. “They stepped up. They really played well in the third and fourth quarters.”

The Bossing were still within striking distance through the first three quarters as they trailed 80-88 before Don Trollano, who starred off the bench with 25 points, caught fire in the final salvo.

Picking up where CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo left off, Trollano scattered 15 points in the fourth period, including the three-pointer that gave the Beermen their biggest lead of the game at 112-88 with under six minutes left.

Trollano drained all of his four three-point attempts in the last frame and went 6-of-7 overall from beyond the arc. 

Perez once again topscored for San Miguel with 26 points on top of 5 rebounds and 5 assists as he reached the 25-point plateau for the sixth straight game.

Fajardo chimed in a 21-point, 16-rebound double-double for the Beermen, who improved to 10-0 and moved within one win from becoming only the fifth team in PBA history to sweep the elimination round.

Santos feted

Although San Miguel closed in on another historic feat, all eyes were on Santos as he became just the seventh player to have his jersey retired by the storied franchise.

Santos, 42, joined legendary company that includes Ramon Fernandez, Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Olsen Racela, Hector Calma, and Yves Dignadice.

The arrival of Santos at San Miguel in 2009 helped reignite the dominance of the Beermen, who now own a PBA record 29 titles.

Santos formed the vaunted “Death Five” with June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot as San Miguel won a championship every season from 2014 to 2019, including five straight Philippine Cup crowns.

While playing for the Beermen, Santos captured MVP in 2013, a pair of Finals MVP plums, and a couple of Best Player of the Conference awards.

“Arwind helped us win championships and the management did a great job retiring his jersey. Arwind really deserves for his jersey to be retired in this franchise,” said Gallent.

Jaydee Tungcab, James Kwekuteye, and Troy Rosario scored 15 points each to pace Blackwater, which absorbed its seventh straight loss and officially bowed out of playoff contention with a 3-7 record.

Rookie Christian David added 12 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.

The Scores

San Miguel 124 – Perez 26, Trollano 25, Fajardo 21, Cruz 14, Romeo 12, Lassiter 11, Brondial 9, Teng 4, Manuel 2, Enciso 0, Tautuaa 0, Malillin 0, Ross 0.

Blackwater 109 – Tungcab 15, Kwekuteye 15, Rosario 15, Hill 13, David 12, Casio 8, Chua 8, Ilagan 7, Suerte 5, Nambatac 5, Guinto 2, Escoto 2, Sena 2, Jopia 0, Yap 0.

Quarters: 32-24, 60-53, 88-80, 124-109.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.