Even at the age of 41, ARWIND Santos is still one of the best defensive players in the PBA.
The PBA Press Corps has named again the evergreen big man its Defensive Player of the Year, and he will be honored to receive mostly with the prestigious award on June 21 at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center.
Arwind has stated that he will continue to pursue individual accolades for team glory.
Santos also will be honored for the third time as Defensive Player of the Year, having previously won the accolade in 2008 and 2011.
After Chris Jackson and Marc Pingris, the NorthPort veteran became only the third player to receive the prestigious award.
Santos is indeed the oldest player to receive the award from the men and women who already cover the PBA.
The honor is the latest for the former UAAP MVP from Far Eastern University, who is clearly finding a second wind in his PBA career.
He also was previously honored to the Season 46 Mythical First Team and the All-Defensive team at the Leo Awards.
His selection to the All-Defensive Team was also his eighth, following the lead of some of the other tournament’s greatest defenders, including Pingris, Jerry Codinera, and Glen Capacio.
Last season, he still recorded 14.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and a league-best 1.5 blocks per match while competing for San Miguel and then NorthPort.
Santos’ stats were mostly excellent enough to do so that he had been nominated for an award for the Governors’ Cup Best Player of the Conference title.
Santos is a nine-time champion, twice Finals MVP by the PBA Press Corps, two-time Best Player of the Conference, a 10-time Mythical First Team member, and 11-time All-Star in his 16-year major league career.
Flashback of Arwind’s career
Air21 Express / Burger King Titans/Whoopers (2006–2009)
The Air21 Express selected Santos second overall in the 2006 PBA draft. He later signed a contract with the team to play his first three seasons alongside Ranidel de Ocampo, Yancy de Ocampo, and KG Canaleta. He chose the number 29 because Wynne Arboleda was already wearing the number 19.
During the Philippine Cup, he led rookies in scoring and nearly guided the Express to a semifinal appearance before losing to the Sta. A knockout match between Sta. Lucia Realtors.
Santos was a strong contender for Rookie of the Year accolades at the end of the season, competing against the likes of Sta. Kelly Williams of Lucia and Jay-R Reyes of Welcoat are two prospective victors. Williams was eventually named ROY. Santos, along with Williams, Jay-R Reyes, Jireh Ibaes, and LA Tenorio, was named to the All-Rookie Team.
Petron Blaze Boosters / San Miguel Beermen (2009–2021)
Arwind Santos eventually realized his wish to play for the San Miguel Beermen, the most successful team in the Philippine Basketball Association’s history, during the offseason. Santos was traded to the Beermen in return for 6’5″ power forward Marc Pingris, 6’6″ sophomore center Ken Bono, and San Miguel’s 2010 first round selection, according to a reliable source.
San Miguel went 11 – 3 in the first round of the 2010 – 11 Philippine Cup, while Santos averaged 16.6 points per game. He was named Best Player of the Conference at the 2011 PBA Governors Cup. He also guided his team to an unlikely Governor’s Cup final victory over the much favored Talk ‘N Text squad, which was attempting a rare grand slam. He was voted the Phoenix Fuels-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP as a result of his efforts.
Santos led Petron Blaze Boosters to semifinal appearances in the PBA Philippine Cup and PBA Governors Cup in 2011–12, although it was a poor season for him and the team, leading to suspicions that coach Agustin was on his way out.
During the 2012–13 season, Santos guided the Petron Blaze Boosters to a runner-up finish in the season-ending Governors Cup, losing 3–4 to the San Mig Coffee Mixers. Santos received his second BPC award at the season-ending Governor’s Cup, beating out teammates June Mar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot, despite his team losing the tournament. With 2,840 points, he won his first-ever MVP award, beating out LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra (2,819) and Jayson Castro of Talk N’ Text (1,682). Santos was also named to the Mythical First Team for the sixth consecutive year, as well as the All-Defensive Team for the seventh consecutive year.
Santos and current MVP June Mar Fajardo led the San Miguel Beermen to the Philippine Cup title in the 2014–15 PBA season, defeating the Alaska Aces in a difficult 7-game series. Santos was voted the Petron Sprint 4T Finals MVP for his solid play in the Finals, his second Finals MVP honor.
Santos was named to the PBA Mythical First Team on October 14, 2016, as part of the PBA Leo Awards Night.
NorthPort Batang Pier (2021–present)
Santos was moved to NorthPort Batang Pier for Vic Manuel on November 8, 2021, after 12 years with the Beermen. Santos signed a one-year deal with the team on May 19, 2022.