Austria, San Miguel aim to continue winning ways in PBA restart
MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel was just hitting its stride in the PBA Philippine Cup when the league was, once again, went into hiatus due to the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.
More than a month of inactivity, the league is ready to get going in Bacolor, Pampanga and Beermen head coach Leo Austria will try to do the same with his team.
Austria said the first order for his team is to get into proper game shape and hopefully extend their three-game winning streak once play starts.
“We have to refocus and think of what we did in the past especially in our past games,” said Austria in Filipino. “Going into the bubble would be fairly easier now because this is our second time and we’ll try our very best to get our chemistry right away.”
“Conditioning-wise we’re improving and you can see that the players are very eager to play and we already had a good start at 3-1. We’re still a contender so that’s why most of the players are very excited for the resumption of the conference.”
San Miguel lost its first game of the season to Meralco, 93-87, but racked up three straight wins after returning to the usual starting lineup of Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, and June Mar Fajardo.
Austria had Cabagnot and Fajardo, who was returning from injury, off the bench in their opener and had CJ Perez with Moala Tautuaa in the starting lineup against the Bolts.
The eight-time champion coach said Perez understood his role as s sixth man and that it even produced better results for the former Terrafirma guard.
Perez averaged 17.67 points and 6.0 rebounds during the Beermen’s three-game winning streak and was the team’s best scorer in two of those matches.
“We had a close fight with Meralco and we’re still adjusting in every matchup,” said Austria. “We were going up, we had momentum but unfortunately it got stopped so now it’s a matter of adjusting once again. It’s important for the players to get their chemistry together otherwise we’ll just be struggling again.”