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Austria on Beermen’s Finals lead: ‘2-0 is not safe’

MANILA, Philippines – If there is anything Leo Austria knows about the PBA, it’s that it is never over until it’s over. 

The San Miguel Beermen head coach knows all too well that a best-of-7 Finals series cannot be won with just two victories. And against a team like the Alaska Aces, who built an identity for themselves as a “No Quit Squad” this conference, not even a 2-0 lead in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals is much cause for celebration.

“2-0 is not safe,” Austria said after San Miguel took Game 2, 103-95, on Sunday, July 12 for the early series lead. He expects Alaska to come back strong as they avoid a 0-3 ditch they may never be able to climb out of.

“It’s hard to motivate players if you’re down by 0-2, what more 0-3? But we need 4 wins for a championship so I see no reason for us to relax,” Austria explained.

“We have to be consistent with what we’re doing. It’s not only this conference, later on they will benefit from this. Even if there’s no bearing or it’s a championship, it should be on our mind that every game is important.”

Austria, who knows Game 3 on Wednesday, July 15 “will be a different ballgame,” admitted that he and the team relish the much-needed two-day gap to prepare. 

The Beermen have yet to have a day off since the playoffs began and they had only one day to get ready for the Finals, as opposed to Alaska that had 3 days’ head start.

After Game 1’s 30-point victory, Austria’s Beermen showed so far that they can win even when their composure is tested. 

And they key for a successful Game 3, according to Austria, is to stay the course the same way they did in the fourth period of Game 2 as Alaska raced to a 9-point lead and nearly evened the series. 

“We have to keep on fighting. We have to keep on playing,” he said.

“We have to keep on doing what we’re doing right. Let’s run our system. And that’s what happened. Maybe next game we’ll know what kind of adjustment they will throw at us and we will anticipate it.”

San Miguel rendered Alaska scoreless in the final 2:39 of the ballgame and poured 25 points in the last 7:07 with gunner Marcio Lassiter burying the go-ahead triple with a minute remaining that turned back the Aces for good.

With thorough preparation in the previous offseason, Austria knows his team can take whatever Alaska throws their way on Wednesday.

“We’ll keep monitoring what kind of adjustment they will make and we’re ready,” he said.

“Since the offseason we do all these situations so when the game comes, we will just recall it. And I’m happy to see that they follow the game plan to the letter.” – Rappler.com