Arwind Santos couldn't help but get excited over the prospect of finishing off the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok in the fifth game of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals set Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena and give the San Miguel Beermen their fourth straight crown in the season's first conference.
San Miguel showed championship poise in Game 4 when Magnolia made it close all throughout before weathering a late meltdown in the final two minutes.
The Beermen moved on the verge of extending their Philippine Cup reign when Santos made up for missing an open jumper with a key defensive play on Aldrech Ramos that led to a turnover before knocking down two free throws to secure an 84-80 win and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"Gusto na namin mag-celebrate ng Friday," Santos declared after Wednesday's match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. "Gusto na naming magpuyat. Ang tagal na naming di nakakatikim ng alcohol."
Santos' comments could either work in San Miguel's favor or make Magnolia even more determined to keep its fading title hopes alive.
But San Miguel has been a confident bunch ever since it recovered from a stunning 105-103 loss in Game 1, winning the next two games by an average margin of 19.5 points (92-77 in Game 2 and 111-87 in Game 3).
Though Santos seems to be in the celebratory mood already, he remains wary of seeing the Hotshots become the second team to rally from 3-1 down in the finals - a feat only accomplished by Ginebra San Miguel in the 1991 First Conference against Shell.
And San Miguel also knows a thing or two about erasing a huge deficit in a title series, namely the famous 0-3 comeback against Alaska in the 2016 Philippine Cup Finals.
"Sabi nga nila, yung pinakamahirap kunin yung pang-finish so kailangan paghandaan namin yun," he said. "Sa Friday, pipilitin namin ibigay ang lahat para matapos na. At alam din namin na hindi ganoon babagsak o ibibigay ng Magnolia ang laban kaya sabi nga nila puso diba?
"Sana sa Friday, kaming lahat ng mga teammates ko, gustuhin na tapusin na," added Santos. (JT)