SAN Miguel coach Leo Austria himself is impressed but not surprised with the way rival Talk ‘N Text – and the rest of the PBA teams for that matter – have beefed up their frontline in time for the league’s 41st season kicking off next month.
Austria admitted the Beermen’s towering star June Mar Fajardo has definitely become the yardstick for the rest of the field.
“I expect it na mangyayari and the main reason is June Mar,” said Austria when asked about the Tropang Texters’ recent move to acquire the big and athletic pair of rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario from the last draft.
“With the two (Tautuaa and Rosario), they can go small and big. Very agile ‘yung dalawang bigs nila.”
The 6-foot-7 Tautuaa was tabbed by the telecommunication franchise as the No. 1 overall pick during the draft.
Not fully satisfied, the Tropang Texters made a move to acquire the 6-foot-6 Rosario from Mahindra, which selected the former National University standout with the no. 2 overall selection.
To acquire Rosario, Talk ‘N Text gave up sophomore Kevin Alas and veteran forward Rob Reyes to the Enforcers.
The Tautuaa-Rosario frontcourt partnership already showed its potential and the damage it can do when the two joined hands to steer Talk ‘N Text to a 99-91 win over the Chinese Taipei national team in the just concluded MVP Cup.
The two rookies combined for 39 points and 22 rebounds to hold the fort for a Tropang Texters side that played without resident stars Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo, along with sophomore Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, all of whom are with Gilas Pilipinas.
“Definitely, nakakuha sila ng panapat (kay June Mar),” said Austria after watching how the two rookies held their own against the Taiwanese.
The Tautuaa-Rosario partnership couldn’t have come at a better time for the Tropang Texters, who are expected to crowd out the Beermen as they try to defend their Philippine Cup title starting on Oct. 18.
Austria said the reigning champs are just going to rely on the same veteran roster of Fajardo, the two-time league MVP, another MVP in Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, Ronald Tubid, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot which beat out Alaska in seven game last season to win the All-Filipino crown.
“Wala kaming nakuha sa draft. So we will just be banking on experience and an intact lineup,” said the 2015 PBA Press Corps Coach of the year.