Amidst the many high-profile names in the Green Archers roster, there is one player who has been slowly making a name for himself as the silent workhorse for the team.
In last Saturday’s 80-74 win over Adamson, casual fans may probably remember this game more for Ricci’s one-handed slam dunk, Andrei’s go-ahead three or all of Big Ben’s 5 blocks. But it was Leonard “Santi” Santillan who made the timely baskets in the payoff period that enabled La Salle to escape with a come-from-behind win.
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 21, 2017
The 6’5 college transferee from the University of Visayes registered a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. He scored the crucial basket with 43 seconds left when after a broken play, drove straight to the hoop from near center court to put the Green Archers up by four.
After showing some jitters in his first few games in the UAAP, Santi is starting to feel comfortable and getting used to play in front of the big lights, the cameras and of course, the most passionate fans in Philippine collegiate sports. Of course, that playing atmosphere where he is now is a whole lot different back in Cebu.
“Oo kumportable na ako. Hindi kagaya dati parang gigil na gigil talaga at wala ako sa sistema,”
“Ngayon, ayun, kumportable na talaga ako. Nakukuha ko na kung ano yung sistema sa UAAP at nakukuha ko narin talaga yung sistema ni coach Aldin,”
His game may not be flashy but he is definitely getting the job done. In fact, he is not concerned about not getting the attention and he is content in doing the “dirty work”.
“Ginawa ko lang yung mga pinapagawa sa akin ni coach – rebounding at saka sipag lang talaga. Yun lang,”
Of course, Santillan acknowledged that playing alongside a Cameroonian powerhouse makes everything easier.
“Siyempre, kapag nakay Ben yung bola, dino-double siya kaya ako, malilibre ako. Kapag tinira na ni Ben, mare-rebound ko talaga so take advantage ko lang yun,”
If the Green Archers are to reclaim their title, they would surely need more performances like this from Santi.