San Miguel relishes championship pressure, says Austria
With 22 titles, San Miguel has become synonymous with success in the PBA and as the league’s winningest franchise, pressure is something inevitable and a natural occurrence the Beermen just enjoy.
Beermen head coach Leo Austria said Friday the team knows the public always expects greatness out of San Miguel and he and his players are happy to oblige.
“Every conference nag-e-expect mga tao na kami ay laging nasa top, ang tingin nila yung team namin ay talagang powerhouse,” said Austria, whose team has the MVP tandem of June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos. “Powerhouse kami siguro dahil loaded ang wingmen namin lalo na kung healthy kaya masasabi mo talagang contender.”
Complementing Fajardo and Santos are shooters Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz, three-and-D specialist Ronald Tubid, and point guard combo Chris Lutz and Alex Cabagnot.
Austria added his team’s glory warrants pressure and he considers the burden as part of their identity.
“Ang masasabi ko it’s better na may pressure sayo na manalo ka because you’re capable of winning,” said Austria after the team’s practice at Acropolis Gym Friday. “At the same time nag expect ang mga tao and maganda dito you’re capable, it’s a thing na will push you to work hard, capable ang team mo na mag champion.”
San Miguel may be the defending champion in the Governors’ Cup after the Beermen swept Alaska in 2015, but it was in the 2016 Philippine Cup Finals when Austria and his troops showed their championship identity.
Down 0-3 against the Aces, the Beermen revealed a royal flush and won the next four games, the first team to comeback from such deficit in PBA history, for the coveted 2016 Philippine Cup title.
San Miguel played the first game of its comeback without two-time MVP Fajardo, and in the following three games the Beermen had the chance to unleash the Kraken and the terror the hulking big man provided was enough for the championship.
“We were able to go back from 0-3 because of him [Fajardo] and we’re always thinking na siya talaga yung magdadala sa amin dahil lahat, mga plays namin centered sa kanya and everybody’s looking up to him.”
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