Far from mighty

Despite classic double-OT victory, Austria says Beermen still seeking form to match KaTropa hunger, desire
/ 05:40 AM August 09, 2019

San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria believes his charges’ high-wire escape from TNT on Wednesday night’s thrilling double-overtime Game 2 has given them more than a victory.

It has, in every sense of the phrase, leveled the playing field.


“[For] our first game, we never had the time to rest or prepare,” he told reporters after the 127-125 win. “Meanwhile, [the KaTropa] were able to rest and watch our game, and more or less, [brace for] what [could] happen.”

Austria and the Beermen emerged on top in the second game of the best-of-seven series that practically didn’t want to see an ending. And the win afforded San Miguel a much-needed reboot following a steep playoff trek, including an embarrassing beatdown in the series opener.


June Mar Fajardo sank a pair of freebies with 32 ticks remaining to preserve Terrence Romeo’s all-game brilliance. Chris Ross made the most out of a stop and gave San Miguel a four-point edge, one that cushioned against TNT’s counterattacks in the dying seconds.

But such showing is still far from the mighty form Austria is accustomed to—the Beermen struggled against an import-less foe in the second extension.

If not for its veterans, San Miguel could have easily been in a 0-2 ditch, its hunt for a second jewel in a Triple Crown bid, again, in peril.

“You know, with or without an import, they still played good basketball,” he said of the KaTropa, whom they lock horns with again to break a 1-1 tie at 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday. “They are focused on their games from start to finish, they’re very hungry, very eager to beat us.”

And as far as focus goes, TNT’s Mark Dickel said he would rather archive Game 2—and its perceived bad calls—and set his sights on the next game.

And that’s even if TNT lost its top scorers, Troy Rosario and Terrence Jones, in the extra periods due to fouls.

“Every time you bring that up, you lessen the fact that San Miguel played a good game,” Dickel said of the calls, which he said wouldn’t have been a factor had they made a handful of bonus shots in the extension.


If anything, Dickel stressed, the loss has given him “an education on basketball.”

“Every country you go to is different,” the active consultant, who joined TNT late last season, told the Inquirer. “And you want to hope that the players can dictate the game and can decide the outcome of the game.”

“I’m just adjusting to it here. I just felt that we didn’t get the chance for the plays to dictate the outcome of the game, but from what I’m understanding, that’s how it is here,” Dickel added.

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TAGS: Basketball, PBA Commissioner’s Cup, San Miguel Beermen, Sports, TNT KaTropa
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