ANTIPOLO – Despite the team’s recent struggles, San Miguel coach Leo Austria remains confident the Beermen can turn things around in their campaign in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
The Beermen have dropped to 2-4 as their slide continued on Saturday after their 127-119 loss to Alaska at the Ynares Center despite the 45-point game of Kevin Murphy.
But Austria said he remains optimistic about the Beermen’s chances of making to the quarterfinals with the talent the team has.
“We are down 2-4. I told the team na don’t doubt ourselves. Although we are not used to this kind of situation, we still have a good chance to make it to the finals dahil our goal right now is to win as many as possible. We will see kung saan kami darating doon,” said Austria.
One of the reasons why Austria is still confident about the Beermen’s chances in the quarterfinals, regardless of seeding, is the play of Murphy, who has been nothing but impressive for San Miguel as he even scored 37 points in his first game against Magnolia.
The top four teams in the quarterfinals get the twice-to-beat advantage against the lower-seed teams, and Austria said the Beermen can still be a dangerous team even if they are seeded in the bottom four.
Austria added the players are also starting to return to practice after their injuries and illnesses, and Fajardo is a few weeks away from recovering from his stress fracture in his shin.
“If (we reach the) quarterfinals, i-embrace namin ‘yun. Just like a best-of-three, we need to win twice in a row to get into the semifinals. And then, it’s a different ballgame. By that time, siguro si June Mar, nandoon na and with the kind of import that we have, he is a very good import,” said Austria.
But first, the Beermen hope to improve on their defense as they have been giving up more than 100 points in their defeats during the losing skid.
“We scored 119 points. It’s almost a score of a winning team. We have to step up more on our defense. I think nagka-catch up na rin ‘yung wear and tear ng mga players. Minsan hindi mo na nakikita ‘yung hunger. But I know this team. They know that they still have a chance and we will try to work out on that kind of situation that we have,” said Austria.
Meanwhile, Austria also paid tribute to Alaska for their “near-perfect game” against San Miguel.
“It happens na talagang we are up against a team na talagang very disciplined, very organized, and the played a perfect game against us. Maybe it’s also because it’s easy for us to defend because there is no June Mar,” said Austria.