Arwind Santos prepared to vie for spot in Gilas final 12

San Miguel forward Arwind Santos is confident that even at 37, he can still keep up with some of the world's finest basketball players today.

Santos, who was part of the Gilas pool revealed on Tursday, said he is accepting the challenge in trying to earn a spot in the final 12 of the national team.

"Of course, I'm happy to be selected to the pool by coach Yeng (Guiao), who is my godfather. This is a great opportunity to play for the national team again," Santos told ESPN5.

Santos' last stint with the national stint came in 2009 during the FIBA Asia men's championships, which was incidentally handled by Yeng Guiao as well.

The national squad, then known as the Powerade Team Pilipinas, placed eighth in Tianjin, China.

Santos, a 12-year PBA veteran, continues to be a consistent contributor for the Beermen's title hunt in the 2018 Governors' Cup with averages of 13.18 points and 3.91 rebounds in over 26 minutes of play.

While there are a lot of younger players in the pool, Santos insists he's ready to fight for his slot in the final 12 and believes he can live up to the "puso" battle cry of Gilas.

"We know that Filipinos are known for their big, fighting heart. It's still 'puso', that's the no. 1 battle cry, and for me, I'll fight for my spot because this is a rare chance for me to represent the country again so I will give my very best," he said.

Aside from Santos, four other SMB players were named to the pool, such as four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter and Christian Standhardinger, who is one of two naturalized players.

Completing the 20-man pool are Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle, Scottie Thompson, Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, Beau Belga, JP Erram, Ian Sangalang, Jayson Castro, Matthew Wright, Greg Slaughter and Troy Rosario.

Gilas cadets Ricci Rivero and Kai Sotto were also named to the pool.

Gilas Pilipinas will play two home games in the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers -- playing Kazakhstan on November 30 before facing Iran on December 3. Both games will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena.