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New role for Arwind

For nine-time PBA champion and two-time PBA Finals MVP Arwind Santos, there is life after the PBA where he became a certified superstar over 16 seasons. When his NorthPort contract ran out last month, he fulfilled a long-time dream to play for his home province Pampanga and joined the Giant Lanterns of mentor/father figure Gov. Delta Pineda in the MPBL. That’s not all.  Santos, 42, was named commissioner of the National Basketball Championships Inter-High (NBCIH), a nationwide private school boys league organized by Jams Sports with a P1 million prize for the grand winner.

NBCIH is now on its elimination stage, starting out with 256 teams of high school players from 14 to 19. The first roll-out involved eight teams vying for the right to represent Pampanga. Three days of knockout games are scheduled in 15 other locations in Luzon and eight each in the Visayas and Mindanao. PBA chief statistician and historian Fidel Mangonon is helping out Santos with game operations in charge of referees, table officials, stats and media while also assisting Jams Sports on the basketball side of things. Mangonon said Santos’ role is tailor-fit for Spiderman. “Meant to be ito para sa kaniya,” said Mangonon. “Right now, mayroon pa siyang commitments to practice and play sa MPBL but right after the season, expect Arwind to be in every game hanggang matapos. Excited siya to inspire the boys kasi high school league ito. Perfect role model si Arwind.”

From the eliminations, 32 teams will emerge to remain in contention -- eight each from North Luzon (Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan, NCR, Nueva Ecija), South Luzon (Cavite, Rizal, Quezon, Batangas, Laguna, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur), Visayas (Bohol, Leyte, Negros Oriental, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Capiz, Aklan) and Mindanao (Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao, Zamboanga, Davao City, Iligan, Misamis). Pampanga, NCR and Bulacan legs are done with Pampanga Colleges, FEU Diliman (NCR) and La Consolacion University of the Philippines (Bulacan) advancing without a loss. Among FEU Diliman’s players are Willie Miller’s son Will, Rico Maierhofer’s son Tayshaun and Allan Salangsang’s son Liam. The Cavite