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    Fajardo-led SMB at a disadvantage in conferences with tall imports

    Sep 5, 2022
    Thomas Robinson Kings
    PHOTO: AP

    SAN Miguel coach Leo Austria played down the team’s chances in the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup with former NBA player in Thomas Robinson reinforcing the Beermen.

    Austria said history will show the Beermen have always encountered problems during the import-laden conferences, whether they won the Philippine Cup crown or not over the years.

    Austria said the coming conference is no exception as other teams have also stepped up in getting quality imports for the Commissioner’s Cup.

    [READ: SMB signs former NBA first-round pick as import]

    “Always, import-laden conference, medyo nagii-struggle kami kasi minsan, suwerte suwerte rin sa pagkuha ng import eh,” said Austria. “If we will be having a good import, we will be a contender next conference.”

    Listed at 6-foot-10, Robinson was drafted fifth overall by Sacramento in 2012 after his stint with Kansas. He also had stints in China and Korea.

    Austria said bringing in an import can at times be disadvantageous to a Beermen side already loaded with bigs led by June Mar Fajardo.

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    “In the all-Filipino, we have an advantage with June Mar. With an import, nawawala, nadadagdagan ‘yung kalaban namin ng isang magaling na player. Sa amin naman, may nadadagdag na magaling na player, pero nai-ease out ‘yung isang magaling na player. Kung nag-gegain sila ng 100 percent, sa amin 50 percent,” said Austria.

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      For this conference, Austria said other teams are also keen on recruiting a solid import so Robinson will be going up against high-caliber players as well.

      “We can never know what will happen and what kind of import na maglalaro sa amin. With credentials, maganda ‘yung credentials but it is still something to be seen. In two weeks siguro, darating na yung import namin,” said Austria.

      Austria hopes that the recent Philippine Cup crown will enable the players to stay motivated to win another title this time with an import.

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      “With the experience of the players especially the new ones, I think they are motivated and confident na talagang they can do it again. But it’s really hard because a lot of teams, alam naman natin ‘yung kalibre na kinukuha nila,” said Austria.

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      PHOTO: AP
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