Ateneo’s coach Tab on La Salle’s Santillan: ‘He’s quickly becoming my favorite player’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 12, 2018 09:08 PM
Coach Tab on Santillan: ‘He’s quickly becoming my favorite'
For Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin, La Salle's Santi Santillan was the one of the most impressive players, if not the most impressive, in their rivalry game

Thirdy Ravena was brilliant all throughout and Angelo Kouame made his presence felt in overtime of Ateneo de Manila University’s win on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Center.

At the other end, Aljun Melecio and Jollo Go both hit big-time shots for De La Salle University to force overtime.

However, it was another player who caught the eye of Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin in their 81-75 thriller of a triumph over the Green Archers.

“I don’t really have to say a lot about the game. I thought it wasn’t a great game of basketball,” he told reporters post-game. “But I thought particularly, Santi Santillan was outstanding.”

Santillan was the top scorer for the Taft-based team with 19 points to go along with nine rebounds – but he compiled all of those, true to his character, quietly.

Baldwin, though, ever the keen observer, recognized Santillan’s impact. “Nobody’s gonna talk about Santi as the most talented played, but if you talk about gutsy, if you talk about clever, that’s him,” he said.

Ateneo main man Thirdy Ravena could only agree. “Malaking bagay siya sa team niya. For me, siya yung x-factor talaga kasi he brings yung intangibles, yung hustle,” he said.

He then continued, “I was telling him lang to keep working on his game kasi malaking improvement na talaga ginagawa niya. I just wanna give him props for all his hardwork.”

For his part, La Salle’s recruit from Cebu, said he will only use Baldwin and Ravena’s words as motivation. “Masaya ako kasi siyempre champion coach, pinupuri ka. More motivation lang (na) kung ano yung Santillan na nilaro ko, ganun pa rin (dapat) ako,” he said.

If he does that, he should expect to be talked about even more by the mentor of his archrivals.

After all, Santillan is already up there in the mind of Baldwin. As the latter said about the former, “He’s quickly becoming my favorite player in the Philippines.”

Yes, Green Archer Santi Santillan is a favorite of Blue Eagles mentor Tab Baldwin.

As they say, game respect game.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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