FOR coach Leo Austria, San Miguel lost the chance to win the PBA Philippine Cup championship outright by again failing to sustain what was yet another fast start against Alaska.
Austria noted how the Beermen suddenly skidded in the last three quarters of Game Six Sunday after getting off to a huge 18-4 lead in the opening period.
“I think we know from the start that it’s (Finals) not going to be easy. Although we had a good start, but after the first quarter, the bottom line here is, we were outhustled in every department, especially in defense and points in the paint,” Austria told sportswriters following the Beermen’s 87-76 loss to the Aces that evened the best-of-seven title series at 3-3.
Despite parading the most dominant big man in the league today in June Mar Fajardo, Alaska outrebounded San Miguel, 57-46, and even clobbered the Beermen in points in the paint, 58-22.
At the same time, Alaska’s bench outscored San Miguel’s shock troopers, 53-12.
“They just played great defense against us tonight. Pero again, kanya-kanyang adjustments na lang iyan,” he added.
San Miguel’s starters played 29 minutes or more, with Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter logging in 38 and 40 minutes, respectively.
Still the 56-year-old San Miguel coach refused to make any excuses.
“I don’t think pagod ang mga (San Miguel) players. Eh both sides naman naglalaro. Lagi naman kaming magkalaban,” he said.
“It’s a matter of mental approach. Everybody is sacrificing, so ngayon, it’s just mind over matter kapag ganyan eh.”
San Miguel has two days to prepare for its final attempt at winning its first all-Filipino title in 14 years when it plays Alaska in the do-or-die match on Wednesday.