Leo Austria on Beermen’s Game 3 loss: We were not smart in the end
MANILA, Philippines—Leo Austria walked out of San Miguel’s 112-104 Game 3 loss to Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals with regret in his heart and adjustments in his mind.
Already just a win away from a finals berth, the Beermen let the chance to wrap up their series against the Elasto Painters slip away and gave the opponents a shot at even tying it.
“We’re not smart at the end game,” said Austria Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “We’re not able to convert our shots and not only did we miss them but we also rushed them.”
“You also have to give credit to the Rain or Shine players because they knocked those three-point shots. If they could’ve missed a few of those in the end game then we would’ve won.”
San Miguel turned a six-point deficit, 86-80, at the start of the fourth quarter to a 96-91 lead after Chris McCullough’s free throw capped off a 16-5 run with 6:23 remaining in the game.
Rain or Shine, though, launched the final offensive and took control of the match in the last minute-and-a-half.
Gabe Norwood knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner to give the Elasto Painters a 105-104 lead with 1:14 left but it wasn’t just on the offensive end that the veteran forward made a huge impact.
McCollough, who had 51 points, was called with a traveling violation with 30 seconds to play after Norwood blocked his layup attempt.
Beau Belga, who had 16 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, then shot the dagger with an off-the-dribble triple against the defense of five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo with 11.2 seconds left to play.
San Miguel’s blown lead in the fourth quarter wasn’t Austria’s biggest concern, though since he rued watching McCullough light up the box scores while his locals fizzled.
Fajardo, who averaged 14.8 points and 11.3 rebounds, was silenced to eight points and four boards while Chris Ross, who had a career-best 10 triples for 34 points in Game 2, was limited to just six points.
“One of the things I regret is our import played well and had 51 points but we should be happy about that,” said Austria. “On the other side, us coaches think that he should’ve involved his teammates more.”
“But the breaks didn’t go our favor. Chris missed his shot and there were instances we thought he was fouled but no whistle was blown and that’s just part of the game. I just told the team that we should be positive and move on.”
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