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    Austria says Romeo, new boys will bring down minutes of SMB core

    Dec 18, 2018
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano/Marlo Cueto

    SAN Miguel has just shown how a powerhouse team can get better.

    Without touching any of their core players, the Beermen found a way to further solidify an already formidable lineup with the arrival of Terrence Romeo and Paul Zamar and the return of veteran forward Ronald Tubid.

    No wonder not a few fans are already labelling the Beermen as the PBA's version of the Golden State Warriors.

    Head coach Leo Austria, however, begged to disagree, saying a team's strength on paper doesn't necessarily translate into a championship.

    "It's up to us kung paano namin imo-motivate yung players to play to the expectations of the people," said the three-time PBA Coach of the Year, who is also looking to integrate rookie Ryan Monteclaro into the squad.

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      Austria should know. San Miguel was in this same position last year after adding the top overall selection in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, Christian Standhardinger.

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      Though the Beermen were able to claim a fourth straight Philippine Cup championship without Standhardinger, the Fil-German's entry didn't really pan out the way many fans envisioned as San Miguel finished runner-up in the Commissioner's Cup before bowing out in the Governors' Cup quarterfinals.

      That's why Austria is adamant that the new boys must settle into their roles and learn to mesh with the team's 'Super Six' of June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Standhardinger.

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      "These players, they are welcome addition to the team kasi ma-strengthen yung bench namin. But yung chemistry ang kailangan naming ayusin because we all know how skilled these players are," he said.

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      Austria also believes that the arrival of the new recruits, especially Romeo, will not only extend the careers of his core players but also build up competition during practices.

      "Yung mga players namin na naglalaro ng 35 minutes per game, most probably mababawasan yun, but that's very good for the core kasi mapo-prolong yung career nila," said the former PBA Rookie of the Year.

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      "With these additions, malaking support ang ibibigay nila sa team at yung core will be given enough time to rest before going back dun sa closing minutes of the game," he added.

      "Also, that's a good sign para sa isang team na may healthy competition and it's normal. But we always say here, team-first. We will keep on guiding them how to play our game because what we're after is the wins and not any other achievements."

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano/Marlo Cueto
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