DOWN 0-3 and facing the specter of being swept in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria could only offer a brief message to his players going into Game 4.
Let's be professionals.
No team has ever gone back from a 0-3 deficit in the 41-year history of the PBA, a tough hurdle to overcome by any means. But Austria said the Beermen can't afford to look beyond Game 4 slated Sunday at the Philsports Arena.
“That’s the biggest challenge for me and for the players. I can only do so much,” said Austria moments after their 75-82 loss to Alaska in Game 3 on Friday in Lucena City.
At this stage, Austria said extending the series will be no longer be about the X’s and O’s. He said it’s now all about the willingness to fight in Game 4 no matter how bleak the situation.
“I keep on telling them na whatever happens, down 0-2, 0-3, they have to give their best. (That’s) being a professional player. On the other side, it’s hard to motivate the players if you’re down 0-3,” said Austria.
Austria said he expects Alaska to come out on attack mode in Game 4 and go for the clincher. Alaska coach Alex Compton said they don’t plan to let up as San Miguel remains a dangerous team despite their 3-0 lead.
“I will be like coach Alex also,” said Austria. “Baka they might be caught off-guard and that’s what they don’t what to happen.
“If you’re down 0-3, the players’ morale is so low. But as a coach, (you want them) to play their best. That’s the only way to show the fans and the people watching the PBA that we are professionals.
"Whatever happens, we have to give our best,” he added.