WHEN San Miguel faces Indonesia in the Asean Basketball League Finals, the Beermen's head coach, Leo Austria, will see one familiar face in the opposing bench.
His name? Jerick Cañada.
Cañada, a former back-up guard of Austria with collegiate side Adamson Falcons, is now one of the vital pieces in an Indonesian Warriors side that is looking to win a second straight ABL title at the Beermen's expense.
Austria and Cañada's association actually extended beyond the UAAP as they were also together with Freego Jeans in the 2011-2012 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup before the point guard signed up with the Indonesian ballclub midway through the conference.
In his first season with the Warriors, Cañada won a title against the Beermen, who back then had Austria as their assistant coach.
Still, Austria said he takes pride in what Cañada has accomplished in his pro career.
“I’m happy for him. Ever since naman, ‘yung mga sinasabi ko sa kanya, I’m sure ‘yung natutunan niya sa Adamson, pinakikinabangan niya. I hope na hindi niya makalimutan ang eskwela niya,” Austria said.
Cañada gives Indonesia another scoring option at the backcourt, averaging 9.7 points a game this season including a season-high 21 points against the Saigon Heat on April 3 during.
He also scored 18 points against the Beermen in their February 8 match-up where the Warriors won, 98-96, in Manila.
Austria said Cañada is playing with no pressure in an Indonesia backcourt that largely counts on explosive scorer Stanley Pringle and shooter Mario Wuysang. At Adamson, he was the chief back-up to Lester Alvarez.
“I’m happy to see him kasi mapapansin mo, with Pringle and Wuysang, ‘yung respect ng team sa kanya nakikita unlike sa akin na malaki ang responsibilidad niya,” Austria said.
The SMB coach said he is happy to see his former player doing well - except in the times that Cañada was tormenting the Beermen.
“Minsan nalulungkot ako kasi minsan tinatalo niya kami,” Austria said with a laugh.
Austria now hopes that won’t happen.