Bond remains strong for Arwind Santos, Leo Austria
MANILA, Philippines—While they’re on opposing sides, the friendship between Arwind Santos and Leo Austria will always be there.
Santos had the most successful period of his career with Austria as his coach but that seven-year-long professional relationship came to an end before the start of the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Austria is still running the show for San Miguel while Santos, the 2013 MVP, is now the veteran voice at NorthPort and the two played against each other for the first time on Sunday at Ynares Sports Arena.
“It’s fine because there was nothing gone in our relationship and we actually talked before the game in the holding area for our swab tests,” said Austria after the Beermen’s 91-88 win over the Batang Pier.
Santos, who won eight of his nine titles under Austria, was traded to the Batang Pier in exchange for Vic Manuel in a shocking move that ended the 6-foot-4 forward’s 12-year tenure with the historic franchise.
While he still holds a personal relationship with Austria, Santos had a new professional commitment and that is to lead NorthPort.
Santos was in top form in his first game against the Beermen putting up 23 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals.
He also scored 13 of his points in the second half wherein the Batang Pier came back from a 27-point deficit only for the Beermen to hold on to a three-point win.
“As Arwind told me before the game ‘coach what just happened is I have a different uniform, but we’re still friends,” said Austria. “I’m happy for him because he’s enjoying his time there at his new team.”
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