LEO Austria gave Blackwater credit for pulling one over his San Miguel Beermen, but believes his team relaxed and paid dearly for it.
“Nag-collapse kami,” admitted Austria after the Beermen’s 109-106 loss to the Bossing in a heartbreaking start to their PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign on Wednesday.
The defending champion held leads of as much as 79-64 in the third quarter and 89-77 entering the final quarter.
But the Bossing found another gear behind Mike Ayonayon, Baser Amer, and Troy Rosario to overcome the deficit and upset the favored Beermen.
Ayonayon scored all of his 10 points in the fourth quarter including a completed interception for the basket that made it a three-point game with 20 seconds left.
It was Baser’s three-pointer however, a play earlier that gave Blackwater the lead for good, 107-106.
As Blackwater was making basket after basket, the Beermen uncharacteristically imploded down the stretch.
Austria said it shouldn’t have come down to the endgame had San Miguel taken care of business like it used to.
“Yung start (naming) maganda ang laro, yung fluidity,” he said. “But dumating yung time na everybody wanted to score.”
“Medyo sinuwerte yung kalaban, kami naman minalas.”
Austria was likewise patient with new import Diamond Stone, who finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, but was only 7-of-23 from the field.
“He’s not yet familiar with us because he never practiced with us,” said the San Miguel coach of Stone, who arrived in the country on Tuesday to replace the injured Thomas Robinson.