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Austria on San Miguel collapse: I really don’t know what happened

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 01:43 AM January 08, 2015
Coach Leo Austria. NUKI SABIO/PBA IMAGE

Coach Leo Austria. NUKI SABIO/PBA IMAGE

MANILA, Philippines–San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria rued his team’s carelessness with the ball following an 88-82 loss to Alaska in Game 1 of the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup Finals Wednesday night.

The Beermen committed 26 turnovers after turning the ball over just four times in the first quarter where they took a 27-5 lead and appeared to be on their way to an easy victory.

“First of all, I really don’t know what happened to us,” admitted Austria. “We committed a lot of turnovers. We had 26 turnovers and how can you win with that many turnovers?”

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Austria also gave credit to the Aces’ bench which was responsible for 61 points led by energetic forward Calvin Abueva and rookie Chris Banchero.

“We had a good start and we were not able to sustain our intensity because of the bench of Alaska. their bench scored more than 50 points.”

In contrast, the Aces made 17 miscues but only had seven after halftime.

Austria also commended Alaska’s defense especially on San Miguel’s reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo. Fajardo had 14 points but scored only six after the first period and was visibly fatigued in the crucial stretches of the game.

“The execution was very bad in the second and third quarter and we were not able to get the ball to June Mar because of their defense. They did a good job against June Mar,” he pointed out.

That same defense also hounded the Beermen’s chief playmaker Alex Cabagnot to his worst game since returning to the San Miguel franchise late in the conference. Cabagnot scored only six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.

“I’m expecting Alex to play well but he wasn’t able to deliver against the suffocating defense by Alaska.”

Chris Lutz led the Beermen with 24 points. Arwind Santos, SMB’s other MVP, also struggled. He scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds but had seven turnovers and shot just 5-of-14 from the field.

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