SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria hopes his team has learned its lesson from last year’s PBA campaign that saw the Beermen fail to sustain the gains from their Philippine Cup conquest in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The Beermen ruled the all-Filipino conference after outlasting Alaska in seven games last season, but woke up with a championship hangover that resulted in the team losing its first four games in the import-loaded midseason tournament, where it eventually missed the playoffs.
SMB made a successful title defense against the same opponent this season and is on the same path heading into the Commissioner’s Cup which starts on February 10.
“I hope na natuto kami sa mga pangyayaring yun,” Austria said. “After that (all-Filipino) championship, lahat kami umabuso at masyadong ninamnam yung championship at pinagbayaran namin yun.”
The Beermen, powered by import Tyler Wilkerson, have two weeks to recover and prepare before they open their campaign on February 20 against Mahindra.
By conquering the Aces, the Beermen have also remained on track in their bid for a grand slam. The Commissioner’s Cup setback last season denied them of pulling off the rare feat even as they captured the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
“We never think of a grand slam,” Austria insisted. “What’s important is every game. ‘Di ka makakarating dun if you don’t win the current conference.”
“But we’re the only team who can win that because of the all-Filipino championship,” he added.