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    Leo Austria insists new boy RR Garcia not a surplus to requirements in SMB backcourt

    Nov 7, 2016
    RR Garcia buckles down to work in San Miguel practice. Karlo Sacamos

    SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria insisted his team has no excess of point guards after the acquisition of RR Garcia.

    Austria said having four playmakers in Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, Brian Heruela, and now Garcia allows him to keep all of them fresh ahead of another tough grind in the upcoming season, starting in their Philippine Cup title defense.

    “Para sa akin, sakto lang (ang rotation ko) dahil long season ito eh,” Austria said on Monday after practice. “If you notice, kaya nag-suffer yung team namin last season dahil maraming injuries na nangyari sa amin. Si Ross, hindi siya pain-free.”

    “Ngayon, kapag loaded ka ng point guards, marami kang choices at hindi bugbog yung mga players,” he added.

    Austria even insisted the acquisition of Garcia, acquired in a three-team trade involving Star and Mahindra last week, will give him the luxury of playing Cabagnot at shooting guard full time.

    “Kung titingan mo yung lineup namin, talagang point guard yung kailangan namin,” Austria said. “Yung pag pasok ni RR, almost complete na (ang rotation) dahil ang ginagamit kong point guard ay si Alex at Chris Ross then backup si Heruela.”

    “Ngayon, I can concentrate Alex at two guard dahil capable naman siya umiskor eh,” he added. “As a point guard, apeketado yung kanyang distribution dahil he can score eh.”

    Austria said Garcia can either come off the bench or spell Ross “or the other way around, depende sa kalaban.”

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    Garcia is well aware he first needs to defer to his teammates in a powerhouse squad, before looking for his own shot.

    “As a point guard, kailangan kung ano yung ibibigay sa akin, gagampanan ko yun,” the incoming fourth-year playmaker said. “Ang daming star player dito so kailangan i-set up ko sila.”

    Still, Garcia knows how how to stand out even in a crowded rotation after averaging a career-high 14.6 points last season with Phoenix and Star.

    “Syempre kinausap din ako ni coach Leo dahil pwede kami isabay ni Alex, Chris,” he said. “Pero kung ano ang minutes na ibibigay sa akin, gagawin ko lang kasi alam naman natin na champion team to eh.”

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    RR Garcia buckles down to work in San Miguel practice. Karlo Sacamos
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