THE successive week-long breaks in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup obviously stalled the momentum of the once-streaking San Miguel Beermen.
Coach Leo Austria made the admission after Ginebra dealt his team a 107-99 loss on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, marking the second time San Miguel lost in its last three outings after starting the mid-season tournament with five straight wins.
Although at 6-2 – tied with the Kings for third to fourth places – the Beermen remain in good position to finish in the Top 2 at the end of the eliminations, Austria is a bit concerned about the sudden loss of form by his team.
He can only look back at the one-week All-Star Games and the recent Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship campaign as the primary reason for the turnaround.
“Para sa amin malaki ang effect nun kasi andun yung momentum namin,” said Austria. “Five straight games and then a break, and then after a game, there’s another break.”
“If not for the breaks, I think dire-diretso na yun,” he added. “Any team naman.”
The Beermen notched their fifth straight win by routing Rain or Shine, 111-98, prior to the All-Star break. They played their next game last May 5 in a 112-103 loss to TnT Katropa before the Seaba campaign, and then resumed their campaign last Friday by turning back a late NLEX rally, 114-108.
“So there’s a tendency for players especially when you’re on top na magsabing, ‘Coach, bigyan mo naman kami ng break.’ So ikaw, mahihiya ka namang hindi mo sila pagbigyan.”
Austria could only hope the loss against the Kings could re-ignite the fire for the Beermen.
“We will treat this as a lesson for us, a wake-up call for us,” said the champion coach.
The remaining schedule however, seemed to favor San Miguel. Alaska is the only contender it will be facing next, followed by Blackwater and Globalport to cap its stint in the elimninations.
“We’re still in contention for the Top Two spot,” he stressed. “We still have a better position sa goal namin.”