A win away from finals, San Miguel’s Austria thinking of Ginebra as foe

Delfin Dioquino
A win away from finals, San Miguel’s Austria thinking of Ginebra as foe
The 3-time PBA Coach of the Year says the Gin Kings adding the likes of Jeff Chan is their way of countering the Beermen's zone defense

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel still has one game to win to return to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals, but Beermen head coach Leo Austria is already thinking of a championship duel against Barangay Ginebra.

Austria may have had a Freudian slip after his Beermen topped the Alaska Aces, 105-94, to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-5 semifinals series. 

“We’re not thinking of the championship dahil kung para sa amin, darating ‘yan eh,” Austria said in the post-game presser. 

(We’re not thinking of the championship because if it is ours, then it will come.) 

“But I think it will be a good series against Ginebra dahil alam naman natin they are the hottest team in the league right now, 8 consecutive wins ano.” 

(But I think it will be a good series against Ginebra because we know they are the hottest team in the league right now. They have 8 consecutive wins.) 

The 3-time PBA Coach of the Year even added that the Gin Kings boosting their roster is their way of countering San Miguel’s defense. 

“And makikita mo, nag-beef up sila. So with the addition of Jeff Chan, so probably they are preparing their team for our zone defense against them,” he said. 

(You can see, they’re beefing up their lineup. They added Jeff Chan, so probably they’re preparing their team for our zone defense against them.) 

But to make the San Miguel-Ginebra finals matchup actually happen, the Beermen need to dispose of the pesky Alaska side, and fortunately, they have 3 chances to do so.

Meanwhile, the Gin Kings, albeit being on a winning streak for more than a month, are still two wins away from reaching the championship round as they lead the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 1-0, in their own semifinals clash. 

San Miguel will shoot for a sweep in Game 3 on Wednesday, July 18, at the Araneta Coliseum. But Austria said they would gladly accept a series win, no matter if it’s a sweep or not. 

“We’re not thinking of sweep, but of course ‘yung game namin, wala kaming magagawa kung mananalo kami. That’s a sweep,” he said.

(We’re not thinking of a sweep but of course, with the way we play, we cannot do anything about it if we win. That’s a sweep.) 

“But if we have a chance to sweep it, it’s a big advantage because everybody is really tired, because in the past two weeks, we [have never had] a day off.” – Rappler.com 

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.