No longer a ‘Paco Rabanne’, Austria feels it’s time to quit as Adamson coach
MANILA, Philippines – After seven years of being at the helm of the Adamson Falcons’ campaign at the UAAP men’s basketball tournament, coach Leo Austria feels it may be time to call it quits, saying he is no longer the “Paco Rabanne” that he used to be.
“I can sense it. Before, I was like Paco Rabanne, ang bango bango ko [I smelled very good], every now and then there’s an invitation. But now, no,” said Austria as Adamson sits on the brink of elimination despite its victory over the University of the Philippines in the first game Saturday.
The Falcons’ win came after a six-game skid that dropped them from a 3-2 win-loss slate that briefly put them at second place in the first round to 4-8, with hopes dimming for a final four slot.
Austria, who steered the Falcons to their best finishes in recent years, admitted that he might not return after a disappointing campaign this year.
“I think this will be my last season in the UAAP, not because I’m going to the PBA, but because I want them to have a change,” an emotional Austria told reporters after the Falcons’ 67-53 win against the Maroons.
But Austria, who recently captured a title in the Asean Basketball League with the San Miguel Beermen, along with being named coach-of-the-year, revealed that his decision didn’t spring out of nowhere.
With a lackluster second round performance which saw a six-game losing streak, Austria felt that some from the Adamson camp were starting to question his ability to coach the Falcons.
“I’m not popular with them anymore. Every time we play, I can see that they’re against me. It’s not healthy for the team, because we need all the help we could get,” Austria said.
“They’re starting to doubt my ability as a coach. And when you’re losing, everybody’s blaming you. That’s understandable. But I hope they will realize what I’ve done for the team.”
All of Adamson’s three final four appearances in the past six years were with Austria at helm, but the Falcons have failed to reach the semifinals in the last two seasons.
“I will not insist to coach a team if I’m not popular with them, if they doubt my ability. Because it’s really hard,” Austria also said.
Austria, whose contract will end on October 31, said he did not ask for a renewal but clarified that “it is not final.”
“It depends on Adamson. But in the community, they want a change. That means they don’t like me anymore,” said Austria.
“I want to rest. In the past five years, year round I’m coaching, from the ABL, PBA D-League and the UAAP. I don’t have a vacation. Maybe I have to refresh my mind,” he said.
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