SMB’s next goal: ‘4-peat’
The possibility of achieving a rare “4-peat” in the Philippine Cup cropped up moments after San Miguel Beer bagged its latest all-Filipino trophy against sister team Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
During a postgame interview after Game 5 of a 4-1 series victory over the Gin Kings, coach Leo Austria was not exactly hot on joining Baby Dalupan, Tommy Manotoc, Norman Black and Tim Cone as Grand Slam coaches.
A topnotch point guard for the defunct Shell franchise, Austria said he preferred to go for a 4-peat rather than a Grand Slam, adding that winning three straight Philippine Cup titles was the highlight of his career so far.
His reason: He felt it’s easier to do a Grand Slam than winning three all-Filipino crowns in three successive seasons.
To make it four straight, Austria, who has won four titles so far for the SMB franchise, said his team must stay healthy—especially June Mar Fajardo, the 6-foot-10 behemoth whose presence inside is a headache to every team in the league.
His players agreed.
In an ambush interview at Smart Araneta Coliseum, Chris Ross, the Finals Most Valuable Player, said it was possible to make it four straight in the Philippine Cup.
“If we stay healthy, we’ll be in the thick of things. I’m sure we’ll be competing,” said Ross.
“If we continue to be blessed without getting injured, we can have a good run at it with the team we have,” echoed Marcio Lassiter.
It is said that Austria’s starting unit—Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Ross, Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot—is one of the best ever assembled by a team in the PBA.
For as long as these men stay healthy, SMB will be the league measure for a long time, Ginebra coach Tim Cone said.