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    Grand slam talk inevitable for this deep, scrappy San Miguel team

    Aug 16, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    TALK of a San Miguel grand slam began the moment the team bagged the PBA Commissioner's Cup championship on Friday night.

    While coach Leo Austria prefers to see the Beermen enjoy their six-game conquest of TnT Katropa in the finals, he also agreed that talk of SMB completing a second grand slam for the franchise is inevitable.

    "Wala nang pupuntahan kami kung hindi doon," said Austria after San Miguel's 102-90 win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    "We're targeting another championship. Double purpose ito dahil once makuha namin yung championship sa third conference, siguro mababalato na sa amin yung grand slam."

    The Beermen came close to scoring a sweep of the season two years ago when they also bagged the 2017 Commissioner's Cup crown. But they were foiled in the season-ending Governors Cup by Justine Brownlee and Ginebra.

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    There are only five grand slams in the league's 43 years - two by legendary ballclub Crispa and one each by Alaska, San Mig and San Miguel's 1989 team coached by Norman Black and led by Mon Fernandez, Hector Calma and Samboy Lim.

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    But if there's one team that can replicate that feat, it is the present-day Beermen, who are deep in almost every position, and, more importantly, have mastered the art of winning as a team.

    "It would really be an honor kung makukuha namin ito because they are really longing for this grand slam," said Austria.

    But it won’t be easy, according to the champion coach, who won his eighth championship in nine finals appearances with the Beermen.

    “A lot of teams are really competitive. And we’re always the target of these teams in the PBA,” he said.

    The key, Austria said, is for the team to get an import that will be a perfect fit for the Beermen.

    “Ang import ay malaking role ang ginagampanan niya dito sa ligang ito. Kaya we should look for somebody who could play along with our team," he said.

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    "So I hope yung makukuha naming import will blend with the kind of talent we have because the players are always looking for an import who could have a good chemistry with them."

    San Miguel already has a prospective import but Austria would rather not divulge his name pending the ongoing negotiations the team is having with the player.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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