San Miguel embracing All-Filipino Cup pressure in semis return
MANILA, Philippines—A quarterfinals exit in the PBA may be considered a decent finish, but for San Miguel head coach Leo Austria it’s anything but.
Austria and the Beermen were gunning for a sixth straight Philippine Cup in 2020 but they were met with an early end after losing to Meralco in the quarterfinals.
But the Beermen are back in the semifinals this time around, ready to reclaim their All-Filipino Cup dominance.
“Every conference everybody expects us to do well, at least in the semifinals or finals,” said Austria after San Miguel’s 100-95 Game 2 win over NorthPort Thursday at DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
“That’s the pressure we have to face because that means there’s something [intangible] within us.”
Things have also seemed to line up for the Beermen ahead of their semifinals series against top seed TNT as the team is complete heading into the deeper stages of the playoffs.
June Mar Fajardo, winner of six straight MVPs, sat out the 2020 Philippine Cup to recover from a broken leg while star guard Terrence Romeo played briefly in the Clark Bubble as he got injured during that conference’s elimination round.
This time around, the Beermen have Fajardo, Romeo, and a fully healthy Alex Cabagnot in the fold. Cabagnot had a torn meniscus in his left knee and sat out majority of the conference.
“We’re happy June Mar was able to get back even though he’s not on his usual conditioning because we all know what happened to him,” said Austria. “Slowly, come playoffs, he will gain confidence to get his old form back.”
“But we’re not rushing everything because we all know his condition.”
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