SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria believes the arrival of Gary David won’t disrupt the team’s chemistry that has proved a major factor in its recent dominant run in the PBA.
The Beermen, running second at the tail end of the Commissioner’s Cup eliminations with a 6-3 win-loss record, picked up the rights to David last Thursday after Meralco relegated him to the unrestricted free agent list.
“Hindi naman siya yung player na kailangan (lagi) nasa loob eh, hindi katulad ng import na kailangan nasa loob,” Austria told Spin.ph after practice on Saturday. “Sa kanya (David), kung nakaka-disrupt, pwede namang hindi gamitin eh.”
“Pero later on, I know pag naka-adapt na siya,” he was quick to add, “he could help us a lot dahil after Marcio (Lassiter), he’s one of the best shooters ng liga eh, so pag nilabas si Marcio, parang hindi rin kami nawalan ng shooter, which is yun ang tinitingnan sa amin ng kalaban dahil we have a big man to go to sa post.”
Austria said he will activate David in place of rookie big man Michael Mabulac for the Beermen’s Commissioner’s Cup game against Phoenix on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“He will suit up, but I cannot promise him playing time dahil he doesn’t know yet the full system of our team,” Austria said on the eve of the 5:15 p.m. matchup. “Kailangan maka-adapt muna siya.”
“But I know mabilis naman pumick up yun,” he added. “So kung kailangan gamitin, gagamitin. But he’s an asset to our team.”
Austria believes it’s a good problem to have a surplus of shooters rather than a shortage.
“Ako yung nakataya ngayon dito, kung paano ko didiskartehan,” Austria admitted. “But I think maiintindihan nila ako. After all, yung player naman, pag ginamit ka o hindi, you should be there.”
Incidentally, it was a dispute over a lack of playing time that forced David out of the Bolts.
“Ewan ko lang kung magiging issue pa yun, pero hindi siguro, dahil dito naman sa team, pagka nananalo ka, walang issue yan eh,” Austria said.
“Sa any team naman eh, pag natatalo ka, magkakaroon ng issue,” he added. “Pero pagka nananalo kayo, yung maliliit na issue, pwedeng mawala eh. Pag natatalo, yung mga maliit (na issue), lumalaki.”
With the Philippine Cup champions' latest addition, the Commissioner's Cup - and probably the Governors' Cup for the Grand Slam - might be theirs to lose.
“Pero hindi naman tinitingnan namin (agad) yung para sa grand slam,” Austria said. “We’re just trying our best na (we have a player) in every position, kung pwede, laging may kapalitan na shooter.”
“Ang importante, every time na may pangangailang kami, mapupunan.”