SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria feels TNT KaTropa is definitely one of the team’s biggest roadblocks in its quest for back-to-back PBA titles.
A shorthanded Texters side without Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy showed its depth in handing the June Mar Fajardo-less Beermen a 112-103 defeat, their first of this Commissioner’s Cup, on Friday night.
“It’s an indication that Talk ‘N Text is really a contender in this conference,” Austria said. “I think this loss will serve as a wake-up call dahil from the start, I know Talk ‘N Text is really a great team.”
“I think nabago din ang setup namin dahil June Mar is not around, but I’m sure next time, we’ll recover,” he added, referring to the reigning MVP, who’s on loan to Gilas Pilipinas.
Austria believes without Fajardo, the Beermen, with Charles Rhodes manning the middle, lost their advantage in the paint against a TNT frontline that still has Kelly Williams, Mo Tautuaa, and Donte Greene, even without Rosario.
“Hindi naman (mahirap mag-adjust) dahil we still have Charles eh, but if we have June Mar, nagkakaroon ng mismatch ngayon sa big man sa post,” Austria explained.
“What happened today is nagkaroon ng mismatch sa big man. Usually kami ang may advantage eh; ngayon sila nagkaroon because of sila Kelly, Tautuaa.”
“Hindi kami makapag-cancel out ng import to import dahil yung big man nila, mas malakas,” he added.
Still, Austria believes his powerhouse team can learn to adapt in the absence of Fajardo.
“Even though wala si June Mar, kaya naman manalo ng team eh dahil nangyari na sa amin ‘to before eh na wala si June Mar,” Austria said. “They (TNT) just played really well and came out really prepared.”