LEO Austria joins a distinguished list of champion coaches while Rain or Shine co-owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que get a well-deserved recognition from the PBA Press Corps when it holds its Annual Awards Night on Saturday at the Gloria Maris Restaurant inside the Gateway Mall of the Araneta Center.
For the second straight season, Austria is the recipient of the Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan Coach of the Year trophy following a season that saw him steer San Miguel to the most amazing comeback in league history by overcoming a 0-3 finals deficit against Alaska to win the Philippine Cup crown.
Austria got the nod over Yeng Guiao, who led Rain or Shine to the Commissioner's Cup championship, and Tim Cone, who led Barangay Ginebra to its first championship in eight years in the Governors Cup.
Yu and Que, for their part, will be honored with the Danny Floro Executive of the Year award for keeping a franchise that consistently remain a top contender and won the Commissioner’s Cup title behind a hardworking core that pales in comparison with the league’s powerhouse ballclubs.
The 7 p.m. affair presented by CIGNAL and to be hosted by Rizza Diaz and Quintin Pastrana, will have congressman and incoming league chairman Mikee Romero as guest of honor.
A special tribute will also be given by the PBAPC to Dalupan, the late great coaching guru known as ‘The Maestro’ and responsible for establishing the league’s first ever dynasty at Crispa. The Coach of the Year award has been named in his honor since the yearly affair began in 1993.
Austria becomes the first man to win the award in two straight seasons since Chot Reyes did the trick in 2002 and 2003. The other coach who made it back-to-back was Perry Ronquillo in 1998 and 1999.
The partnership of Que and Yu on the other hand, will be receiving its second Executive of the Year trophy since 2012. Other two-time winner of the award named after the late team owner of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers are Elmer Yanga, Wilfred Uytengsu, the late PBA commissioner Jun Bernardino, Buddy Encarnado, and Manny V. Pangilinan.
San Miguel Beer guard Chris Ross, the PBAPC finals MVP in the all-Filipino Conference, is going to be honored as the Mighty Sports Defensive Player of the Year during the event which has Chancellor as official outfitter.
Second year Rain or Shine guard Jericho Cruz is also a top awardee as Mr. Quality Minutes, while Paul Lee, the PBAPC Commissioner’s Cup finals MVP, is the recipient of the William ‘Bogs’ Adornado Comeback Player of the Year.
Other awards to be handed out are the ACCEL All-Rookie team composed of Chris Newsome, Troy Rosario, Scottie Thompson, Art dela Cruz, and Maverick Ahanmisi, the ACCEL Order of Merit, which goes to Jayson Castro, prolific Terrence Romeo as Scoring Champion, and the revived All-Interview Team made up of coach Yeng Guiao, Arwind Santos, Jimmy Alapag, Asi Taulava, Lee, and LA Tenorio, PBAPC finals MVP in the recent Governors Cup.