Leo Austria on PBA Grand Slam: ‘It’s really hard, everyone is trying to beat your team’
After winning the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup against all odds, talks around the basketball world have now focused on how the San Miguel Beermen will have another legitimate attempt at a Grand Slam.
But head coach Leo Austria admits it will be another difficult task for them, especially since they have a huge target on their backs.
“There’s no other way but to target the grand slam. But as I said, it is one game at a time. Medyo napaso na kami before, sa 2017,” said Austria, referring to the Beermen’s 1st try in 2017 when they won the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup titles but faltered in the quarter-finals of the Governors’ Cup.
“It’s really hard because everyone is trying to beat your team and slowly, they are catching up with their talent and training.”
Austria, who just won his 8th title in the PBA following a 4-2 conquest of the KaTropa, added the Beermen should get an import that fits the bill and even mentioned Barangay Ginebra as one of the teams to beat in the season-ending conference.
“I hope we could get a good import. The barometer is always the import,” he said. “Especially when you are playing against Ginebra. What more if it is the 6-5 limit. We still have a lot of work to do but we are confident we could compete with them.”
The Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok are current defending champions of the Governors’ Cup, as they won it last season with Romeo Travis as import.
The Beermen might have a better chance this time around as the PBA takes a several-week break while the 2019 FIBA World Cup is on-going.
For now, Austria will cherish winning the Commissioner’s Cup championship which was a near-impossible feat for the Beermen.
“We are every happy with this championship. We were almost not able to make it to the playoffs. isang talo lang eliminated kami,” shared Austria. “Pumasok kami as no. 7 and twice to beat (disadvantage), nanalo kami.”
“We realized in the semis we had a good chance and everyone stepped up. When we got to the Finals against TNT, for us, it was a really a tough series because we knew they were determined to win the championship.”